A sunset in the background

Esperanza has shown me greatness in service and in so many other ways

Dear Esperanza,

Twelve years ago, you took me under your wing as a new choir conductor; raised me, trained me, and elevated my vision for what our church community was capable of. You have demonstrated that in spades, that you as a church community are capable of great things. But this greatness is different than what I had expected.

It is not greatness in popularity, it’s evidence of great service. Through Habitat for Humanity, Kyrene’s donation center, or the other various causes you have supported, you’ve demonstrated greatness in service.

It is not greatness in prestige, but evidence of humility. Working alongside some truly incredible individuals, these people have always approached others in a “human first” perspective, one that values the humanity of the other regardless of anything.  Thank you for doing that with me.

It is greatness in a way that is not always appreciated in this world. You’ve demonstrated greatness through love, through listening, through tears and through helping. You’ve demonstrated greatness in presence more than accolades, in compassion more than admiration, and in forgiveness more than leverage.

This is a community that I’ve been honored to serve alongside, and one that has helped shape me into the person I am today.  And for that, I cannot thank you enough.

However, my final Sunday serving you will be Sunday, May 15.  I will be taking a step back to focus on my health and my family’s health. Although I am sad to be leaving this caring community, I am looking forward to the margin that I’m adding back into my life, and seeing how that can help me be healthier, and how that will impact my service to others.

When considering my time in Esperanza, my greatest concern and my greatest joy was participating in the continued development of our choir, Promesa de Esperanza. Their quality musicianship helped shape my vision and guide my goal for this group. I have loved being a part of such an excellent ensemble, and was grieved to let it go.  But when I look at the members of our micro-community, of our choir, I see self-directed musicians and a community capable of sustaining long after I have left.  And that alone has given me significant comfort in this transition.

I will always love our little community here, and I will miss the weekly rehearsals, the conversations, the joys and the tears dearly. I will miss the demonstrations of love shown through every interaction.  But I know that will continue, and I cannot wait to visit again in the future, as a healthier me, and to witness your love once more. Until that time, I leave you with the words from our final song, Elaine Hagenberg’s “O Love:”


O Love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thy ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.


O Joy that seeks me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain,

That morn shall tearless be.


With love and gratitude,

Robin Neely