To my friends in Christ at St. John's:
Where do I even begin?
After almost 3 months of recording worship services in an empty sanctuary and having meetings and Bible studies online (thank you for that opportunity, Zoom!), it was such a blessing to see so many of you last Sunday! I was overwhelmed and awed by the fact that so many of you "drove through" to wish me well as I retire from full-time ministry. And it was such a blessing to have the opportunity to share Communion with all of you! Thank you for the gift of your presence. I know that some of you were waiting in line for close to an hour.
I was also overwhelmed by the many notes, cards, and extremely generous gifts of all sorts that you brought that day. I certainly did not expect any of that! It seems so inadequate to simply say "thank you" in a message like this, but please know how very appreciative I am of your encouragement and support - and not just last Sunday but throughout our journey together over the last 19 years. As I said in my sermon last Sunday (and this is a quote from Winnie the Pooh), "how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" Please know that I will never leave the church family I've cherished all these years - I will always be with you in spirit, and I'll always be there cheering you on in my prayers. God has a great future planned for St. John's and I can't wait to see the results.
I especially want to thank all of you who took the time to write notes. I have read and become teary-eyed over every one of them. Some of you told stories about sermon tidbits that touched your life in some way (most of which I was unaware of!), or stories about times we've prayed together and your prayers were answered, or just stories about some of the fun times we've shared together. Some of you even shared the way your faith journey led you to St. John's, or the way your faith journey became real to you at St. John's. Whatever it is that you shared, I will cherish your story in my heart forever. I have all of them safely stored away for times when I want to be reminded of all of you.
Once again, thank you so much for the many gifts, cards, notes, and especially for the gift of your presence last Sunday. I pray God's blessing on all of you today and always!
Grace & Peace,