There are a lot of ways to say goodbye, to bid farewell to family, friends and even mere acquaintances. Every language has at least one and many have multiple ways to express this sentiment given the situation and circumstances. Adios, adieu, ciao, au revoir, arrivederci, auf wiederschen, do svidaniya, sayonara, etc., etc. Yet no singular word or expression can fully capture all of our feelings when we take leave of those we have known or loved or with whom we have served. Nonetheless, the time has come for me to bid you farewell as my time as your Transitional (Interim) Pastor draws to a close and Jill Duffield begins to take up her ministry with and among you.
I frankly envy Jill the time she will get to spend with you and the years of ministry you will share together. You have certainly been a true blessing to me over our two brief years together and she will experience the same in greater measure in the years to come. I cannot thank you enough for all of the encouragement and support you have shown to me and to our family following the sudden loss of our Son, David, last year and our son-in-law Carr Hagan, earlier this year. I marvel at how people manage to cope with such trials without the love and support of a church family. We did not have to. While both losses were sudden and unexpected, your love and support and expressions of sympathy helped us in our grief.
My lone regret is that the Covid-19 pandemic has necessarily prevented our closer connections in worship, study and friendship. It has been a rather bizarre time for all people everywhere and certainly has changed how we have had to do church so as to keep others and ourselves healthy. I have so missed seeing you in person and in worship and have missed sharing more time together with our wonderful church staff and all the terrific folks in this church. I will keep all of you in my prayers and hope to come back from time to time simply to visit and to sit and soak up our blessed sacred space here.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you, to make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Or rather Good Bye (meaning God be with you!)