Kim and Rod Sewell

Kim and Rod Sewell have been members of Old Pine since 2005. Sadly for all of us at Old Pine, next August they will be moving to Santa Fe, the place they have always dreamed of retiring to. Several years ago, Kim and Rod started a tradition of hosting a community Thanksgiving meal at their condo in Center City. Their meal is open to everyone and this year they had over 25 guests. The dishes have a Southwestern flavor, as evidenced by the bowl of poblano peppers in the foreground of their portrait!


It was not easy growing up as the daughter of a Lutheran minister. I was held to a high standard and felt a lot of pressure. I also, from a young age, struggled with my faith. I remember when a beautiful boy whom I babysat died of leukemia, I felt so angry at God. But my father said, “God can deal with your anger. You can tell him how you feel.”


Later on, I got pregnant out of wedlock. As you can imagine, this was not situation a preacher’s daughter was supposed to be in! But my father said, “I forgive you. God forgives you. Let’s move on.” Now I understand that my daughter Libi was actually a gift from God. She’s one of the brightest lights in my life.


When I was a kid, my parents practiced what I call “militant hospitality.” They would invite strangers to have dinner at our house 3-4 times per month. I didn’t always appreciate this at the time, but now I’m so thankful for the example that they set. It’s why Rod and I love to open our home on Thanksgiving to friends and strangers alike.


I grew up in Waterloo Iowa, a small town that was split in half by the Cedar River. The river was also a racial divide: blacks on one side, whites on the other. I can remember one Sunday a black family came to my family’s church. I was so moved by their willingness to enter into a sanctuary that was otherwise 100% white.


Later on, in college, I was sitting in my basement apartment when my roommate and I heard the news that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. I was devastated; he on other hand cheered. It was that night that I was called into the ministry. To this day, King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Oscar Romero are my heroes.

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