Tribute to Pastor Craig 9.19.19

Craig Baldacci: Pastor, Brother, Friend

 

Pastor Craig and Marsha have been an integral and precious part of my life for almost a decade; it is an honor to reflect on our time together at North Sub.

 

We first met when he was interviewing for the Senior Pastor position at North Sub. I was chairing the search team and my late husband Albert was an Elder. Together, we spent a great deal of time with the Baldacci’s during the interview process. We knew he was special when he survived, thrived, and was willing for more of the grueling schedule we set up for candidates. Then, of course, there was the Italian factor… his special-ness was verified when he was observed after an interview with Albert.  Both were walking fast and talking faster – at the same time – and waving their arms wildly about. I’m not sure either of them heard a word, but they were communicating; that’s Italian!

 

Through the years I have spent wonderful times as well as heart wrenching times with Pastor Craig which has allowed me to see a depth of character and consistency that I deeply admire. He is truly a servant-leader.

 

I will begin with his willingness to lead through difficult times. We witnessed his ability to take a fearless stand on principles and face conflict head on without a personal agenda and while loving those involved. His ability to do so doggedly without giving up, combined with his goofy and endearing sense of humor (sorry Pastor!) has accomplished more than most of us will ever know. None of this would be possible without his strong work ethic, faith, beautiful and strong help-mate Marsha, and solid relationship with Jesus.

 

Even though he will not describe this as one of his strengths, Pastor Craig is a shepherd. I have seen him sacrifice himself in various ways, even to the point of exhaustion, for the betterment and benefit of others. He has a deeply caring heart. Only Jesus was a better shepherd for Albert and I during and after his illness and passing. He counseled us with soberness, love, compassion and much needed humor. Albert loved him, and he loved Al. Pastor Craig continued as a wise counselor after Albert passed, helping me with the navigation of life through grief. And when I met Brian, there was again solid counsel. I will never forget the wonderfully serious-faced, raspy-voiced, tough Sicilian who emerged when first meeting Brian to ensure his motives were pure with a good old-fashioned threat… now THAT is a good story!

 

I could write pages and pages about our Pastor Craig, and there are so many stories to share but no room in this short tribute. Besides, I could get pelted with a potato gun if I shared them all. I will close by saying thank you. Thank you for following God’s call even when we (N-Sub) were on your short list of “anywhere-but”, thank you for leading us with strength and humor, thank you for all of the sacrifices you and Marsha have made along the way, and thank you for being my Pastor, brother, and friend.  Pastor, you have truly finished well! However, I know Albert is shaking his head in Heaven saying, “I still don’t know how this guy became a pastor!”

 

You are loved,

Tat (Tatiana Savocchi)