Pastor's Blog

Happy Birthday, My Friend Posted 11.15.2013

It is a heart-breaking week.  I was at Rose Hills on Tuesday for a graveside service of a dear friend from my childhood.  And then on Thursday I got the call that our dear friend, Dick Summerfelt, was now in the presence of Jesus.  I wept.  I take great comfort in the hope of where Dick is this morning, but it still fills my heart with grief and my eyes with tears this week.


When I think of Dick my heart is filled with great memories and a wonderful friendship.  Dick spent hours and hours and hours here at church in the early days of our seemingly never-ending remodel projects.  For years it was the duo of “Dick and Les” who watched over the workers and added their own sweat and skills as we built the patio and remodeled the lobby.  Their hands are everywhere.


I remember Dick joining the Board of Elders.  I honestly didn’t know him all that well back then, and was not sure what to expect from him.  He soon became a valuable leader on the Board and his wisdom and perspective – and his willingness to move in fresh directions was a blessing to the Board and a valuable voice in my life.  His gruff exterior soon melted and he was supportive, encouraging, wise, and yet spoke his mind clearly – and with great love.  We are all indebted to his leadership.


It was Dick who gave me the only USC hat I ever wear.  He was a Trojan, so parting with the hat was not a blessing to him (as it would be for some of you!).  He did have to learn perseverance when he married into a Bruin family later in life.  He weathered each storm with grace and diplomacy – and we would share a moment every Sunday if the Trojans did well the day before.  Which hasn’t been so often lately.


Dick lived a fascinating life, traveled the world, experiencing great joy and painful loss.  But whatever is said about him in the days ahead, what rises above it all is that he was a lover of Jesus.  It was the Word that brought comfort to his soul in the last months of life.  It was his hope of heaven and the certainty of his faith that brings us hope today.


But I will never forget that Dick and Eileen stuck with Peninsula through its darkest days.  As all their friends left to greener pastures, the Summerfelts stayed.  Faithful.  Praying.  Supportive.  Did they like all the changes….oh, probably not.  But this place was always about their Savior and proclaiming His Word across the South Bay and around the world.  And from that, I learn a great lesson.  They both taught me to major on the majors.  The little things are just that, things that do not matter in light of eternity.


So this morning, it is Dick’s birthday.  He’s home for his birthday – something he wanted more than anything.  Happy birthday, Dick.  Rejoice with the angels this morning.  We’ll all be there with you soon enough.  Hallelujah!


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