Elim GEMS 2019
Everyone’s got a story. 59 elders of Elim’s faith community were recently interviewed by various people in the congregation. These interviews were turned into stories and the stories were then compiled into a book. We are calling these elders of the community “Gems” for they are special and treasured. Part of our recognition of our Elim Gems was a luncheon in their honor on Sunday, September 29 as well as a blessing during our services on October 6. Below are their names as well as photos from the events and a summary of their stories.
Martha SabourinMary Savage
THE ELIM GEMS
(from the script on Sunday, September 29, 2019)
Today we honor those who have counted 75 years or more. When the word “Gems” was selected, it was the hope that it would convey to you that you are treasured by your sisters and brothers at Elim. As Gems are all different, so are you, with many talents to share.
Our GEMS are pretty amazing men and women. One woman, for example, sailed from SF to England and hitchhiked through many countries including East Germany, where she went through Checkpoint Charlie while the Berlin Wall was still in effect. At an arranged postal stop in England, she received a letter with a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend soon to become her husband!
We also have a 32 year high school math teacher and a 34 year junior high science teacher. Several Gems were young children during the World War II era and experienced regular food scarcity as well as war atrocities: family members who were sent to concentration camps, serving time in a POW camp and surviving two execution attempts and multiple unthinkably brave escapes, homes being seized and having to flee one’s home and country with little or no notice.
One Gem has been a soloist with Arthur Fiedler in San Francisco and has had roles in many operas and musicals as well as with churches and synagogues throughout the bay area, another sang in a barber shop quartet with her sisters were in the top 10 finalists in the Sweet Adeline International Competition in Toronto, one was Elim’s beloved organist for 28 years, two of our Gems first met in Minot, North Dakota, made famous at Elim with the arrival of Pastor Patrick, Allison and family.
One has been a design engineer for bridges and buildings. Another one of our Gems is affectionately known by Little Shepherd Preschoolers as “worker man George” because of all the things he has fixed over the years at Elim. Ever wonder how the Wolf range in the kitchen became green? Yep, one of our Gems painted it.
Another enlisted in the Air Force at age 18 served for 10 years, and then SHE became a commissioned officer, two of our Gems began dating during junior high in southern California and became engaged when the boy sold his surfboard to buy an engagement ring for the girl and now, 55 years later, they are still surfing life together.
One Gem’s grandfather was best man at Luther Burbank’s wedding and this Gem herself was only one of five women in a pharmacy program at UCSF … and this Gem noted that customers would frequently ask her to speak with “the real pharmacist" ( a man).
Another Gem served on the Petaluma City School Board for 23 years (see if you can beat that, Sheldon!), one of our Gems was a high school and college level soccer referee for 20 years, one Gem became involved in the academic world of Christian Studies at SRJC, later with the Jesus Seminars and then was lead study presenter at “Search” Bible study at Elim.
These are but a few facts that don’t even begin to capture the majesty of the incredible life story of each Gem. We know you will enjoy and be inspired by reading the life stories in the quiet of your homes.
Many Gems served in the military: 7 Air Force, 1 Navy, 2 Marines, 2 Army, 1 German military, 2 Swedish military, plus many military spouses. They have been leaders, giving untold amounts of time, treasure and talents. They have traveled all over the world, sometimes alone, seeking new adventures and understanding of other cultures. They continue to share their lives with friends and family, in the community and in the world. When asked about their greatest joy, they unanimously mention home, family, children, grandchildren, and loved ones. We thank God for each person and we are thrilled to be able to honor each life today.
If you would like to read the full biographies of 59 of our GEMS, please contact Doris Widger at: firstname.lastname@example.org.