As many of you who read this blog probably already know, Andrea Morton, who has been part of the Ithaca Vineyard for the past 3 years passed away this morning (Wednesday, April 29, 2009)  You can read some of the specifics in The Ithacan (the Ithaca College paper.)

This is obviously an amazingly unexpected tragedy.  Andrea was young, healthy, extremely gifted, and so many people will be deeply impacted by her death.

As the events of the past week have unfolded, I wanted to share a recent story about Andrea.  For a over a year now Andrea has been part of the worship team @ the Vineyard.  Due to that, Liz knew her much more than I did and always commented about how Andrea was simply one of the best people to work with.

While Andrea very clearly had a beautiful voice, I never thought that much more about it.  Until about a month ago.  Andrea had started playing keyboards recently (one of her many skills that she tended not to talk about), and on this morning, she was leading a couple of the songs from the keyboard.  I was extremely impressed…(and that isn’t easy to do).

In my mind, that morning we watched Andrea go from an average member of the worship team, to one of the one of the most incredible worship leaders I have ever seen.  If you know me, I am not given to hyperbole…but I really don’t know how else to describe it.  After the first service, I went up to her and told her that I thought she did amazing.  She said “thanks,” and quickly changed the subject to her recent visit to the studios of The Office, a show we both love!

During the second service, I had the same experience during worship as she lead.  After the service I was talking to Elizabeth and asking her, “When did this happen?  When did Andrea get so good, and when are you going to have her start leading regularly?”

Andrea was in fact scheduled to lead worship at our church this past Sunday.  On Thursday night she called to tell Liz that she was checking herself into the hospital and apologized that would not be able to lead on Sunday.  Like many of you, our family is still dealing with the shock of what has unfolded over the past couple of days.

Because of the events of the past week, that experience of Andrea leading worship a few weeks ago will stick with me for the rest of my life.  And while she was unable to join us on Sunday to lead worship here in Ithaca…I know she’s leading worship before a much more amazing audience today!