Today marks the end of the Annual Conference year. Tomorrow begins a new Annual Conference year. Today is typically the time when appointments end.
Saying goodbye is rarely easy. Especially when we have worked hard to get to know people and to serve among them. As clergy and congregations, we share important times together. We share weddings and funerals. We share baptisms and confirmations. We share sacred exciting moments together. We share sacred challenging moments together. In short, when ministry is done well, we share life in Christ together.
That is always a gift.
But learning to say goodbye well is so very important to do. When we say goodbye well, it gives us a chance to thank God for the life we have lived together. It invites us to become open to the new people in the new place where we are moving.
In every move, I took time to evaluate, what did I do well in this ministry? What bad habits have I allowed myself to get into, in ministry? How can I work to build better, healthier habits into my life and in ministry? Where are those areas in life and ministry that I need to learn more about, to become the pastor God is calling me to be? These are a few of the questions of evaluation I ask in a time of transition.
If you are one of those clergy who are moving, or if you are one of those churches that are receiving a new Pastor, it is my hope and prayer that you will arrive to your new location with hope and expectation. Hope to build the new relationships in Jesus Christ that can help the ministry become a movement for Jesus. Expectation knowing that God has called you for this time and for this moment, whether you are a lay person or a clergy person.
May we all give our endings and our beginnings to the One who has called us into being. May we in our living honor this very same One.
Loving God, thank you for calling us, even before we knew your voice. Help us to listen carefully to your voice. May we learn to live in such a way that your voice is given life through our voice and our life. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.