On June 30, 2017, I retired from 39 years of ordained pastoral ministry, the last twenty years at First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC with 17 ° as the Senior Pastor.

Two decades of memory is a bit overwhelming as my life and the lives of Tallmadge residents, businesses, schools, churches, and the region have intertwined in a tapestry of life.

For some, First Congregational Church of Tallmadge has served as their "chaplain" when spiritual care was needed; for others First Congregational Church of Tallmadge is the "Historic Church" on the Circle where the city and religious intersect. For many First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC is their spiritual home and sanctuary.

The purpose of this correspondence is to express my gratitude for May and June events of recognition.

I want to thank Mayor David Kline for the Proclamation presented to me on May 17 on the steps of the Historic Church on The Circle.

I want to thank all those who attended the dinner and "Roast" at The Venue on May 17 following the presentation of The Proclamation. The members of the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce, The Tallmadge Rotary members, First Congregational Church members, Tallmadge residents and friends.

Finally, "Thank you" to the members and friends of First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC for the support, love, guidance and trust through the years. First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC continues to be a pioneer of progress for Tallmadge and the region.

I would be remiss if I did not express my gratitude for the Mayor's Office, the City Council, Tallmadge Fire and Police departments, the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce, the Tallmadge Rotary, and First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC for the support of Warriors' Journey Home (WJH).

WJH is now present in four states with eight active healing circles and one over seas. The "Welcome Home" orchestrated by Mayor David Kline in 2010 and 2014 by the City of Tallmadge following our journeys to Viet Nam for healing and reconciliation are worthy of emulation in other communities.

In the words of a song, "Nobody does it better" -- No body does it better than Tallmadge.

I thank God for every remembrance of you.

The Rev. Dr. John M. Schluep,

Senior Pastor, Retired, First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC