Dear Friends in Christ,
It’s hard to sum everything up in a couple of words, but, for now, “thank you” will have to do. Our family are so grateful for your kindness and support these past weeks as we have prepared to say goodbye (not to mention your many kindnesses to us these past eight years). We will never forget the ways that you have welcomed us into your church and into your lives. We have grown as a family and as people thanks to your care, your help, and the many examples of faithfulness you have lived out as disciples of Jesus.
We always look forward to Sunday, but it’s hard to look forward to this one. We’re just grateful to have had these past years with you all, and one more week to celebrate the presence of God with us in Jesus Christ.
I’ll say more Sunday, but in this particular “goodbye” there are just a couple of things I need to mention. Beginning next week, I will no longer be your pastor—which means that I will not be able to visit you in the hospital, or conduct a wedding or a funeral, or lend any advice about the church’s future. Any future contact I have with the church will only be at the express invitation of the moderator or the clerk of session. This boundary is necessary for us to be able to separate appropriately so that your interim pastor and your next pastor will have ample space to get to know you without my presence intruding. So while I will always care for you and follow your church’s story with interest and prayer, I will not be able to do so as your pastor—just your friend.
For now, just know that I love this church and each of you. I pray that God will continue to move powerfully in all of your lives, “that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”