I've said before that this blog is my piece of living history. This post in particular may be of no interest to any of you, and that's okay. I'm doing it more for the record. Ironically, I don't often share much at all about one of the biggest "chunks" of our lives. Namely, our church life. I rarely share pics or stories of any church-related events. I think that's primarily because my current life is in so many ways separate from my "past life" when my blogging friend relationships were formed. There are no connectors. No one at church knows any of my friends and vice-versa. Though, we did introduce Brent (and Sonja came too!) to our congregation last year, and that was such a treat.
We've been serving this congregation for 6 years now. And I'm continually reminded of how much I don't know regarding so many of the more formal Methodist traditions. One of those traditions is the practice of Pastor appointment. What a different experience for a girl from the CHM. I remember I was 14 yrs old when Bro. French resigned as Senior Pastor of Hobe Sound. This was around the same time that my Grandma died, and I just remember crying my heart out and grieving both losses. Then Pastor Pierpoint came, and obviously was still there till just last year. He and Bro. French married Derek and me. All the way into adulthood with primarily two pastors. After that point, we went on to work with Bro. Greg in Alabama. That was a deeply formed Pastor/Friend relationship. Another reason why his death was so traumatic. These men were all significant chapters in our life's history book.
In the Methodist tradition, when a pastor is ready to move on, or when the congregation is ready for that pastor to move on, they are simply moved on to a new appointment and the DS brings in somebody new for the local church. Derek and I have worked closely for the last six years with our Senior Pastor. It's been a really good working relationship from which a friendship was born. I think subconsciously I always thought we would move on before he did. But that was not to be. They have accepted a new appointment in Alabama (funny how that reversal works) in order to be closer to their adult daughter who has serious health concerns. Last Sunday was their last Sunday with us. We had them over for a late supper on Sunday night, and as they drove away a little after 11:00, I stood in tears. It's hard to fully express the feelings that have filled me. This experience of worshipping with, working with, learning with an entirely different group than the CHM has really been something. And I foolishly never expected the emotions to be quite the same. But then that brings me back to my opening paragraph. Sentimental old me.
One thing is certain. Six years is a pretty good stretch of time. And as I told Pastor Bill on Sunday, when we look back on our lives from now till the end of time, he will always be an important person on the pages of our story. He's been a friend, an encourager, a spiritual father, a mentor, and a teacher. He dedicated two of our children. And we are better for having known him.
In two weeks, we will gather in the sanctuary with the new pastor. One we have yet to meet. One we have yet to hear utter a sermon. One who has yet to hear us play or sing note. We only know his name. All this for a gal resistant to change.....what a journey we're on!
Pastor Bill beaming after his ordination as an Elder in the UMC, last fall.
Lifting up Reagan for Dedication.