25 May 2009

Some More on the Announcement

Yesterday at church I read my letter of resignation. There is no textbook on how to do this. Do I read the letter, does the moderator read it, do I send a letter first, do I meet with committees, do I read at the beginning, during the sermon or after the sermon, & etc? I chose to read it right at the beginning. A good chunk of folk knew, a good chunk did not. The reaction? I gotta tell you the reaction was great. Sure everyone was sad, but everyone at the same time was glad for me and my family. I think the aspect that impressed me the most: everyone wanted me to succeed. Their reaction is a testament to just how wonderful the people are.

Here is my letter:

Brothers and Sisters of Lime Rock Baptist Church,

I write this letter to inform you of my acceptance of a new call. My last Sunday in the pulpit will be the 28th of June.

I leave after six years and eleven months of service as your pastor. During our years together you shared with my family and me your love, your grace, and your lives. I arrived a bit green with a definite “deer in the headlights look.” You provided me the space to grow as your minister, to find my voice as a preacher, and develop my presence as a pastor. I will leave with much growth still ahead; but I will leave with a deeply rooted and highly affirmative experience of pastoral ministry.

As a congregation you opened your homes and hearts to Lori and Seneca and me when we first arrived, made room for Glen and Johnny, and held us up when our fathers died. As a congregation you introduced us to grapenut pudding, seasonal ice cream shops, doughboys, and beans for breakfast. As a congregation we have laughed, cried, and loved together. As a congregation we have grown, been pulled and stretched, and forced to lean on God for direction and hope. I thank you with all my heart, mind, body, and soul for sharing your lives with us.

Over the next few weeks I will continue the difficult process of saying goodbye. No one is good at goodbye, but we will try nevertheless. An intentional goodbye creates the opportunity for us both to say hello to the next phase of life we will both experience.

Know that the Executive Minister of ABCORI, the Rev. Dr. Liliana DaValle will be active and engaged in this period of transition.

With all our heart – Thank you.

The service went as usual until the sermon. It was peculiar being in the pulpit, rather than skirt the issue I dove in head first. I stated that yes I am excited about the new call, but that it is not an easy leave. I love the people and am firmly thankful for their presence in my life. I then dove into the text for Ascension Sunday as an analogy for how God said goodbye to the disciples. After a bit of textual work I looked at everyone and said we have two choices: either we can avoid eye contact with each other or we can work at the hard job of saying and doing an intentional goodbye.

We all agreed to do just that. The next few weeks are going to difficult but I think worth it.

1 comment:

Woody said...

Congratulations. I hope all goes well with your new calling.