Dear Church Family,

Ever since Jr. High School, I have played music that was dedicated to an individual or commissioned by a group to honor someone. I frequently wondered about the people that were commemorated. Who were they? What kind of dedication and service did they provide? What manner of people were they to inspire that level of appreciation and respect? To me, that was one of the highest compliments one could give to a musician. I NEVER imagined that someday I, too, would be honored in such a way!

I understand that my dear husband, Pat, and our choir director Carlyn Zimmermann, were the motivating forces behind this action. However, without the cooperation of Pastor Janice, other staff members, and all of YOU – the congregational members – this could not have happened. I’ve always thought I was pretty astute at picking up subtleties and clues. Thus, I cannot believe ALL of you were able to keep this a secret from me for at least two months. I salute you!

As I mentioned in my recent Minute for Mission, we just completed our Attitude of Gratitude financial campaign. Throughout the entire campaign, I was reminded of so many people within our congregation for whom I am grateful! When Pat and I married sixteen years ago, you welcomed Katie and me with open arms. When my mother died suddenly, you were there to comfort us and share our burden. You’ve been members of my Deacon flock, served with me on various committees, or helped with a myriad of projects. I have witnessed countless occasions when you gave of your time and finances to help people in need, provide assistance during emergencies, or send members to a mission field. I truly believe each one of you takes your vow seriously to serve God with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love. It is an honor for me to be a part of this congregation and I sincerely thank you for your recognition and gift.

With Love,

Kathy Manfredi

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Folks who were present during worship on November 19, 2017 enjoyed the reveal of what had been a successfully guarded secret intended to honor Kathy Manfredi’s sixteen years of service as our musical accompanist. Following the offertory performance of Mark Hayes’s “I Must Tell Jesus,” Pastor Janice West and Music Director Carlyn Zimmermann announced the surprise news that this musical work had in fact been commissioned in Kathy’s honor!

Kathy was presented with a framed image of the anthem’s first page, which reads “for Kathleen Manfredi, Accompanist at First Presbyterian Church, Carbondale, IL, celebrating her many years of faithful service” and is signed by the composer. This soulful gospel tune will forever be associated with Kathy’s exceptional talent, and will surely be a source of pride for all of us at “First Pres” for years and decades to come. Many thanks to those who contributed to the commissioning fund…and to everyone for keeping the news a secret, ensuring Sunday morning’s joyous surprise.

– by Lisa Hollabaugh