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Farewell from Pastor Amanda

Dear Church Family,

The time has come to say goodbye.

I believe that in Christ there are never truly any goodbyes, just benedictions – blessings that send us with love and purpose out into the world. In worship we are sent out, then gathered back in; sent out, then gathered back in. This is the rhythm of discipleship. And one day we will all be gathered back in one final time in the kingdom of God, where we will be reunited with those we have known and loved.

I recently came across a blessing that sums up for me what this appointment has been: a Good Thing. Despite the pandemic and all the challenges and heartache it produced, despite departing sooner than expected, being your pastor was a Good Thing for me, as I hope it was for you. As I said when my appointment change was announced, you are the congregation that raised me up as a pastor. You gave me rich soil and water and sun to nourish my vocational growth, and I carry with me to my new church the wisdom and experience that was cultivated among you and through you. It is a legacy that cannot be overvalued, and I hope you feel proud of what we accomplished together for the kingdom of God. I do, and I am so grateful.

While we are saying goodbye to a Good Thing, and we are also receiving a new Good Thing. I am receiving the Good Thing that is my new appointment, and you are receiving the Good Thing that is your new pastors Heather, Alexa, and Kellen. Sometimes in our grief of saying goodbye to a Good Thing we can have a hard time trusting that the next Thing will be Good, too. But in the leaving and the receiving, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28, NIV). Even Good Things can have their challenges and heartache, but our hope is ultimately in Jesus. With every goodbye this year (and there have been a lot of them!), the Spirit has been present, guiding and comforting. Trust that the Spirit is also present in the New Things to come.

With that, here is your benediction: “Blessing for Moving On from a Good Thing” by Rev. Rebecca Ajer Frantz (found here)

When you came to this place or this season of your life, it was a Good Thing.
You came with purpose and joy and energy to dive deep and fully immerse yourself.
Over days and weeks, months and years, you gave of yourself and received just as much back.
It is time for a new chapter to begin.
For the tether that keeps you here to be undone and connected to a new anchor.
But it is hard to say goodbye to a Good Thing.
May your feelings of guilt for the anxieties of transition be replaced by eagerness and excitement for what tomorrow’s horizon will bring.
May your fear about if the next Thing will be just as Good be abated and calmed.
May you be given clarity to see each new experience for what it is, not clouded by what has been.
You are held and loved by so many, cheered on as you depart.
A piece of you will always remain.
May that piece remind you, when the memories get fuzzy,
That you were part of a very Good Thing.

See you in church, one last time,
Pastor Amanda

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