Hillcrest’s Celebration & Release Service for Rev. Fred

Mya and Ryan Terry sing, ” “Til We Meet Again.”

It was with a mix of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, reflection and celebration that Rev. Fred Weidmann preached his last sermon at Hillcrest Church on Sunday, January 3, 2022.  After twelve years of calling Hillcrest “home,” Rev. Fred has accepted a new call at The Church in the Gardens in Forest Hills, NY.

The Hillcrest family paid tribute to Rev. Fred with a “Grand Celebration!”  The event included the honor of a service of “Blessing and Release” witnessed by leaders from the Bay Association of the Northern California Nevada United Church of Christ, Rev Davena Jones, Joy Davis and Hillcrest’s own Pastoral Associate minister, Allison Kuechle.  The pledge that “The member churches of our Association and Conference hold each of you in prayer and pledge our support in the transitions signified in this service” was a comfort to all!

Many thanks also go to the Ebenezer Korean Methodist Church for their contributions to the service and to their wonderful contributions to Hillcrest’s new roof and cross!  The haunting rendition of “You Raise Me Up” was beautifully sung by Hyunhak Lee with Soonam Han at the piano, members of Ebenezer, after the scripture reading.  Wow – what an inspirational moment.

And what a sermon from Rev Fred from Matthew 2: 1-12: “For their Own Country by Another Road!”  We learned that when one travels, sets in motion, moves forward and holds what is dear closely to them, God is calling us to do things differently.  And so we “Arise, shine, for your light is come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

And then there was the celebration, the tribute, the gifts, the songs, the testimonies.   Laughter, tears, shouts, clapping, joy and sorrow. The congregation sang a rendition of “New York, New York,” (with lyrics re-written by Cindy and David Durant), titled, “Queen’s, New York.” What a hoot! 

Gifts from the congregation included a Celtic Tree of Life wall hanging, a framed photograph of a “miracle” event in the Weidmann’s yard, a book, a hymnal, etc.  Rev. Fred’s gift to Hillcrest was a lovely Chancel tablecloth in a deep Celtic green with coordinating runners adorned with Celtic symbols.

Then, with not a dry eye in the place, we heard a lovely duet by Mya and Ryan Terry of, “Til We Meet Again.”  Yes, Rev Fred, “God be with you til we meet again; By God’s counsels. Guide uphold you; With God’s sheep securely fold you’; God be with you till we meet again”