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In the 1970s, four couples in Spokane, WA, were busy raising families and building careers as they developed their lives and faithfulness at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.
It was a fun and busy time for their thirteen kids (me being one of them). They filled it with Sunday School, youth group, sports, choir, school and church leadership, pranks, camp, boating, swimming, skiing, mission trips, etc., as we built skills to launch into adulthood.
Flash forward to the 1980s when said offspring had indeed left the nests. Newfound time and energy were embraced (with glee!) by the eight parents who continued socializing, being active at church, and even began traveling together. They gave themselves a name – the JBOPs – the first initial of each family name (how handy to have a vowel in the group). The JBOPs continued to support and encourage each other as life stages unfolded, they became grandparents, retired and downsized. In the 1990s, the first death claimed one of the eight. The group embraced the new widow.
Flash forward to the 2020s. JBOPs 2.0 has emerged…aka JBOPs, the Next Generation. We, the offspring of Martin and Inger, Wally and Camilla, Bernice and Wally, Eleanor and Bud, are claiming for our own the power and love of connection through the years. Our parents (my mom and dad, aunts and uncles) created a legacy for us. They modeled a depth of care, faith, generosity, and joy that makes the world better.
When my Mom, Inger (one of the J’s) died in 2017, I was amazed that church friends from my childhood traveled across the state to be with my brothers and me. A member of each BOP family was there – just as the first generation was always present for one another at crucial moments.
In July 2022, thirty JBOPs 2.0 gathered at Warren’s (one of the B’s) home on Lake Pend Oreille. We came from both sides of the state of Washington to be together. A spark of gratitude for the faith community that shaped us is in our hearts. On the way home, I stopped at the assisted living facility where the three remaining original JBOPs lived. It is an honor to be remembered and embraced by the saints of my life. I left with tears.
Bernice (the last of the original Bs) died July 31. I flew back to Washington state on September 1 to officiate her memorial service.
Long lives, well lived. Thank you!
Julie M. Josund, DMin. is a pastor, organizer and coach with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) roots. Bowen Family Systems Theory is her ‘go-to’ approach for relationships and professional leadership. JMJ Coaching and Consultation. #JMJosund. email@example.com.