June 18th Happy Birthday in heaven
June 18th is the birthday of our dear friend, Pastor Leo Longan.
Our dearest friend.
I have been thinking about writing this article for months now, but there are too many things to say, too many stories to tell, and too many memories to remember.
So in no particular order, these are some more things I, and probably all of you, will always remember and cherish about Pastor Longan.
True Appreciation for classical church music: Pastor Longan had a wonderful voice when he sang.
I loved to listen to him sing.
He helped me learn and appreciate songs such as ”O Sacred head now wounded” – Bach, “ Ave verum corpus” – Mozart, and “And the glory of the lord” – Handel . It helped improve my taste in music, and I am extremely thankful for it.
“Captured” into altar service: I am born a Lutheran in the Philippines; Lutheran grandparents, Lutheran parents, Lutheran baptism, Lutheran elementary school. On my baptism, both of the godfathers were Lutheran pastors. Despite all of that, and growing up inside the church, I tried my best to avoid serving at the altar. I did not want to be in the limelight. Yet, Pastor Longan was able to persuade me into joining the Assisting Ministers. I love being able to serve the Lord through this ministry and alongside this congregation.
Generous Giving Heart: I know I spoke about this during the memorial service, but in the summer of 2012, when my Mother was very sick, Pastor Longan was there to give her a blessing, pray for her, pray for us, and gave us moral support. When she passed, Pastor went with us to Hillebrand Funeral and he advanced the payment of the funeral costs with his own money. I will never forget this act of kindness and generosity, and I’m sure that you all too remember his generous heart.
Fantastic Sense of Humor and Wit:
One thing that you all may remember, and is something no one can deny is his great sense of humor. He somehow always knew what to say, and he said it at the perfect time.
“Everyone who is interested to join the Senior lunch this Thursday, is welcome. You don’t have to be a senior, actually. And you don’t need to bring your AARP Card”
“Who would want to name their newborn baby Walter?”
One time, a certain family had their baby’s baptism at Trinity, and so they had a lot of family and friends who attended the service. Maybe around 25 people. And they wanted to sing a special song number during the offering; which was great. Then Pastor introduced them: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir”
He truly never ignored a chance to give everyone a good laugh.
Respect and Understanding: In more than one occasion during church council meeting, it was unavoidable that eventually the discussion will move into the awkward topic of money. And I remember him saying this, or similar to this: “As you know we have a stewardship challenge, and I do not like to talk about our giving and offering to the church, so I am now looking at my shoes, while I say this….” He did not want to embarrass anybody or to call out anybody. Instead, he talks about the topic at hand, and let the listeners figure it out for themselves. He made sure that everyone felt comfortable in that situation. Also, whenever we have visitors on particular Sundays, he welcomes them, and waves at them, and tell them “don’t worry we won’t ask you to stand up and say your name.” I admired this about him, his tact and high degree of social etiquette and sensitivity.
Food: Yearly Longan Luncheon, I’m sure that we know that Pastor Longan was OVERWORKED all the time, My family wanted to do something a little special for him every year on his birthday; Or the Sunday closest to his birthday. We call it the annual “Longan Luncheon”. Our favorites include Pollo ala Brasa Mario along Woodhaven Boulevard; California Pizza Kitchen at the Atlas Malls, and the Sripaphai Thai restaurant at Woodside. He always appreciated this kind gesture, and I’ll never forget those joyful moments with him.
AND MOST OF ALL, LOVE: He loved all of us, and we’ll always love him back.
So, today, June 18th, happy birthday in heaven, Pastor Longan; and as Apostle Paul says: I thank my God every time I remember you.
Genesis with Feliz, David and Daniel