Dear Church Family,
“So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye”
With those words, the children said goodnight to the partygoers in the Sound of Music. Today I join them in that refrain as I say goodbye to you as your pastor.
Like a trapeze artist who lets go of one trapeze but hasn’t quite grabbed hold of the next, I am finding the transition from ministry to retirement both exciting and frightening. I daresay the analogy holds true for a congregation saying goodbye to their pastor and wondering about their future. So let us not forget that regardless of what we do or do not have a hold of at this moment, Christ has a hold of us and he will never let us go.
Thank you for your love and encouragement throughout my 18 years of ministering with you. Thank you for your dedication to the Lord and to his church. Thank you for your generosity both spiritually and materially. Thank you for your hospitality as you enjoy your friends and welcome newcomers in our fellowship. In the years to come when I am asked about the Idaho church where I was a pastor, I will be able to say with all sincerity that together we sought to “Know Christ, Become Like Christ, and Share Christ.” As much as anything, it was your mission statement that drew me to this congregation, and I have been honored to live it with you under the guidance and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the end of each Sunday morning service, I seek to give you both a charge and a blessing. As I depart this congregation, my charge to you is from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 12, where he says: “Dear brothers and sisters. Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace.” This is my prayer for you, my CongoPres brothers and sisters.
Paul closes Second Corinthians with this blessing, and with it I bless you: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Yours in Christ,