By Robert Gray
This past Sunday ULC said goodbye to Victor Minetola and his family (wife Christine and daughters Emilia and Bella) as they prepare to move to Indiana where he will serve as music leader at the new site of Carmel Lutheran Church in Fishers, IN. Below is the video presentation that was put together for Victor. It was designed as an opportunity for some former ULC members who are now living in other parts of the country to participate in the celebration of Victor’s service to the Chapel. Below the video are the abridged remarks made by Robert Gray after the video was shown on Sunday.
The video for Victor that can be seen here.
A big thanks to Andrew Osborne who mixed the video together. You probably noticed that there were 8 words that flashed up on the screen throughout that video. I spent a little time brainstorming and soliciting words that come to mind for people here when we think about who Victor is and what he’s meant to us.
The first word is Musician – What originally brought Victor here to the Chapel was his sharing the gift of music in worship. Sam Fink said it right in the video that his combination of musicianship and humility in leadership is a real gift to those he serves.
Leader – Victor was already a leader before at the Chapel before we entered a pastoral vacancy, but a greater leadership was demanded of him once that happened and he rose to the challenge on our behalf…
Teacher – …That included taking on the mantle of leaving the cozy confines of his piano and preaching to the congregation on Sunday mornings. It was a step out in faith and one that we appreciate him taking for our sakes.
Designer – This might be one of Victor’s more hidden talents and attributes, and a lot of you may not know this but Victor played a role in the design and layout of the chapel with Larry Frank, specifically in the technical aspects of lighting, sound and video projection. He’s also the one responsible for the new logos used by ULC and the Common Cup.
These 4 words illustrate the talents that Victor’s been given, but I don’t honor him simply for being talented but rather for the ways in which he’s chosen to use his talents. There’s a word that I think summarizes these first 4 words and that is Servant. In rising to the call of the many and varied needs of this chapel Victor showed himself faithful to the Lord. But there’s more yet.
Encourager & Confidante – I realized after the fact that I probably put these two words out of order. The word confidante came up from someone because of the way that Victor so often provided a listening ear and acted as a sounding board for some big ministry discussions here at the chapel, but that got me to thinking… I know that I’ve been the beneficiary of that same love and patience, but it isn’t just that he’s a great listener, it’s the way that he’s taken a personal interest in the lives of so many people here, asking how they’re doing and really caring about the answer that they give. In a world full of small talk Victor finds a way to cut to the hearts of the people around him and build them up whether students, residents, or even visitors and strangers.
I think about the way that Victor ran our music rehearsals. Every week before we started practicing he would take time and ask each of us on the team to share how we were doing and what was the major happening in our lives, whether challenging or joyous, and then he would take time to pray for all of those things. That’s just one small example, but I can say with confidence that ULC is an immeasurably better place because of simple interactions like that.
Brother – I said just a moment ago that the words on this list are those that come to mind for various members at the Chapel when they think about who Victor is and what he’s meant to us here. Well, this word is one that I’m claiming for myself, although I know I’m not alone in that experience. After serving together through about 300 Sunday services, at least 50 Wednesday night Advent/Lent services, multiple Christmas and Holy Week services (including 5 Good Friday lunches), an Advent by candlelight, a pastors conference, a wedding and contemporary Worship Conference not to mention all the hours of rehearsal or just hanging out listening to and/or talking about music we’ve become brothers. I don’t think I’m alone in that, but what I can say with full confidence is that to all of us here Victor has been a great Friend. That won’t change with his moving to Indiana.
These last 4 words are characteristics that mark something much more important than even a servant. They’re characteristics of a Disciple. I can think of no greater thing for which to honor Victor than this: He has called us all on to follow after Jesus and he’s modeled the love of Christ to all of us at the Chapel from the day he arrived.
Victor, we love you, we thank you for your good and faithful service to us here at University Lutheran Chapel, and we commend you to the where the Lord is leading you in Indiana.
Robert Gray is an elder at ULC and has served on the music ministry there for over 8 years. He now serves as the temporary site worship leader.