First Sunday in Lent, 2018
I want to thank you, one and all, for the outstanding celebration we had last Sunday for my retirement. It was a deeply heartwarming occasion, from the many people joining in the worship service, the great music of the choir under Ren’s powerful and sensitive direction, through the celebrating of Holy Communion with not just the Community Church of Syosset but with former parishioners I have served as well.
And then, the finale: a lunch shared at Rachel’s that culminated in so many of you letting me know how appreciative you have been for ways I have been instrumental in your own healing and the strengthening of your faith. It is of course every pastor’s hope that she or he may be a channel of God’s grace, but it is not always that one actually hears testimony that it happened.
Let me offer a deep and sincere thank you of my own to all of you I have been privileged to serve over the years. Ministry is indeed a privilege, an honor and a supreme gift from God. For a pastor is perhaps the only profession in which one is able to an intimate part of people’s lives throughout its entire range of joy, struggles and sorrows, from birth to death. And it remains perhaps the only vocation where one may visit at home or in hospital or at a party without any further agenda than to say “hello” and ask “how are you?” (which is always about our relationships- with God, with others, and with ourselves). Doctors come when you’re sick, entertainers may come for celebrations, and undertakers come when you die, but only pastors get to join you from beginning to end. What a privilege! How humbling!
So I thank you for allowing me to be your pastor for the past five years, allowing me to be a part of your lives. My prayer is that you may continue to grow in the faith and in love as your life in God and God’s life in you, both as individuals, as families and as a community continue to unfold in unceasing joy. Thank you for the gift of our time together and further thanks to so many if you who sent me cards and gifts: so special!!
May the peace of Christ abide with you now and forever.
Yours in Christ,