I am aware of two farewells that are happening today…
Each is an occasion of saying goodbye to pastors who have served congregations and have faithfully proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. These pastors and their families have done more than merely “punched a time clock” during their tenure. They have become a part of the communities and the family that we call the local church. They will be missed by friends and co-workers. They will be missed by their colleagues in the presbyteries where they have served.
One pastor bids his congregation farewell and now journeys into a new phase of life – retirement. His career has included ministry in congregations and mid-council judicatories of the Presbyterian Church. He made the conscious decision to bring his work to a close in the same venue where he began – the local congregation. He has served as an Interim Pastor during an important time in the life of a congregation playing a significant role in leading through grief and growth. Now he steps aside as the congregation rejoices in the call it has extended to a new pastor.
The second farewell is taking place in a church across the country. A beloved pastor has heard and responded to God’s call to serve another congregation. Today he preaches to friends and colleagues one last time. He will share precious memories of his time with them and then the time will come to say “farewell.” His family will do so with heavy hearts because they are leaving a community where they began their family and where deep roots have been growing for 8 years. They say their farewells to one congregation while anticipating an exciting time of “hello” with another and believe me, the excitement is palpable where they are headed.
Starting today, these pastors and their families will begin new chapters in their journeys. May God bless them on their way. May God protect them in their travels. May God guide them in their new work.