Music and choir director Beth Randolph stepping down after 16 years
For the first time in about 16 years, Beth Randolph sat in the pews with the rest of the congregation at Joyful Servant Lutheran Church and simply enjoyed the worship service.
Even though as music and choir director, Randolph has been leading the worship service during that span, it felt strangely normal after officially stepping down a week prior.
That was surprising, Randolph said. I thought it would be odd, but it wasnt.
As a mother of three children, working part-time at Joyful Servant was a perfect fit, allowing Randolph time to engage her passion for music while devoting the majority of her time to raising a family.
A former music teacher, Randolph was also able to teach piano lessons on the side, but about six years ago she began contemplating a return to music education full-time.
With her youngest child, Alanna, approaching middle school a couple of years back, Randolph decided it was finally time to take the plunge and enrolled in the masters of education program at George Fox University.
Although she isnt scheduled to receive her degree until next spring, Randolph arranged earlier this year to step down from her choir position this fall, even without a position lined up.
Although her service will be missed at Joyful Servant, Randolphs faith was rewarded, as she was hired to teach general music, choir and band for elementary and middle school students at Trinity Lutheran School in Portland just days before the start of the school year and stepped down from her church duties last week.
I love the work I do at church its been a huge blessing and Ive thoroughly enjoyed it but I was ready to maybe have weekends off and have a weekday schedule working with kids, Randolph said. I was just ready for the change.
Randolphs position at Trinity Lutheran School is part-time, but is fulfilling her desire to be back in the classroom.
Im enjoying what Im doing, very much so, Randolph said. Last year I was the music teacher in St. Paul at the parochial school, but only temporarily, so that was really my first foot back in the door. This time its my ball game, my classrooms and I can do and develop things the way that I want to.
Joyful Servant member Lee Schrepel, who sings in the choir and leads the Community Cantata every Christmas, said he believes that Randolph was brave to resign a position, even though part-time, in order to take a leap in life.
Schrepel said he appreciated how Randolph made great use of the abilities of the wide variety of lay people who have come and gone from the choir over the years, as well as her approach to working with people in general.
When some of those talents and gifts that people have include leadership abilities, Beths has been perfectly willing to step in the shadow and make use of that talent, Schrepel said. Thats been one of her gifts, that shes not about ego. Shes a humble leader.
Fellow choir member and church leader Andy Byerly echoed that sentiment and also appreciated Randolphs ability to challenge and teach the congregation different types of music, whether leading the Joyful Chord worship team or the choir.
Thats one thing that has really struck me, her love of music and her love of helping all people make music, Byerley said. That will be missed for sure.
In addition to improving her piano playing and singing, serving as music director and working with other musicians was both a great creative outlet for Randolph and a way to serve her congregation. She even appreciated having the opportunity to play at funeral services over the years.
I lost both of my parents when I was 19, Randolph said. So I have a place in my heart where I can feel peoples pain at a time of loss and be a part of celebrating the lives of loved ones was truly a blessing.
Byerley and Schrepel were both on the committee tasked with hiring Randolphs replacement, Rachel Hoey, who led worship for the first time officially on Sunday.
They were impressed at how much Hoey engaged the congregation, visiting the church for its 30th anniversary just to familiarize herself and using that experience as the basis for some of the music she chose during a trial run leading worship service during the summer.
Randolph also worked with Hoey in September to ease the transition and the pair have tailored a special worship service, which will serve as both a goodbye and a welcome, for Oct. 20.
I feel like the connection was there as far as her personality and her skill set that she brings to it, Randolph said. Shes really eager to be in a place where she can choose music and lead us through worshipful things. I think shes going to be an excellent fit.