Loren was our miracle.
After trying the Godly Play curriculum in Sunday school for about a year and falling in love with it, we had drained our children’s ministry budget on first set of expensive wooden pieces for the basic Godly Play stories. That’s when God gave us Loren.
I remember going to his house for the first time in Purallup, bearing the expensive wooden Noah’s Ark we had bought hoping that seeing it might make it easier for him to decide whether he could possibly replicate it and other projects for a smaller cost. Born and raised in Minnesota, Loren spent most of his life fixing cars or ground equipment in airports. In 1989, after retiring from his 40 year career with Northwest Airlines, Loren took up woodworking as a hobby. I held my breath in anticipation of what he would say.
Four years and hundreds of wooden projects later, I continued to make regular trips to Loren’s to pick up boxes and boxes of beautiful wooden pieces he had created for Trinity’s kids. He would accept no money from the church for his time or his materials. He did it for the love of woodworking and the love of our children at Trinity.
One of my last trips to his home, Loren showed me to his bulletin board. “This is my most precious possession,” he said pointing to a thank you card that MaryEllen, a child at Trinity, had made for him during his visit to Trinity.
Last Sunday, as our Sunday school kids made get well cards for him, Loren went to be with Jesus. On his side table, next to his phone and a cup of water, sat a card I had sent him with the photo of the Nativity scene he had made for Trinity.
“Creating things for your kids is what kept Loren going after his wife passed away,” I heard from his granddaughter Wendy, who painted the Nativity scene as well as helped with many other of Loren’s projects.
“Thank you for everything,” is the last thing I heard Loren say to me over phone.
But it is Trinity who is thankful for our friend, Loren - for his skill, his faith, his dedication and generosity! Each Sunday at Trinity, as children work with the wooden, “hands on” materials that is central to each lessons, the loving hands that took the time too carve each and every piece will be a part of their journey in faith.
Thank you, Loren.
A reflection by Julia Corbett, Children, Youth and Family Director at Trinity on her four year friendship with Loren Peterson.