We’ve been here 14 times, Emily and I, and it always delivers exactly what it promises: a little Bavaria in the fine state of Michigan. Ladies and gentlemen: Der Frankenmuth.
Every year, ’round this time, Free Methodist pastors find their way from the southern part of the state to Frankenmuth, drawn by promises of chicken, composers, and carefully controlled coffee. Talky talky talky. A couple or two always have a new baby. Someone else is just about to retire. It’s the ministry circle o’ life.
We — over 100 of us — meet here annually for the Pastor/Spouse retreat. It has been the one constant in our lives. In these 14 years, Emily and I have served 4 congregations, gone from zero to three kids, lost my mom, and have lived in 6 different homes. We’ve driven at least 5 different vehicles here and back each year. Back in February 2002, Emily was introduced as “Emily Dickinson”. Close enough. She likes to rhyme sometimes, so it works. Also in 2002, I was here with a full head of hair. Check the elevator security tapes.
So much has changed, but not the Bavarian Inn. She stays the same, like Grandma’s house.
Tomorrow, Emily and I will have the opportunity to lead worship for the gang. We’re excited about this and grateful to be able to do ministry together. And super props to Emily’s mom, who cares for our snowbound children in our absence.
Fourteen years. The chicken has never tasted… different. Nothing changes. Consistent. Stable. Regularized. It’s… nice. It really is.