We have a little over five weeks left together as congregation and pastor. Since I will be gone May 24-28 for my nephew's wedding in Nashville, we have four Sundays to share with one another. Winston will be preaching on the 26th in my absence.
I want to invite you to use this time to remember and let go. There is a lot to be thankful to God for: six years of getting to know each other, many shared tasks that brought us closer together as a church, numerous opportunities to reach out into the community and world in Christ's name, working through situations that were difficult, being together in grief as we lost some incredible saints.
You've put up with me and for that I will always be so thankful. I've grown as a disciple and human being because of your patience, partnership and prayers. Many of you will be counted among my dearest friends when we begin a different kind of relationship in a few weeks.
Your new pastor will be your PASTOR. I will be your former pastor. Let's not forget the problems caused when these new boundaries are violated. I will be ethical and respectful in helping your new pastor make the transition in this new role.
If there is an emergency, illness, death or other crisis, call your pastor first. If I am called first, I will defer to him/her. This does not mean that I will never come or respond. It does mean that I won't do it without your pastor being asked first. I will want to know when someone gets sick, has good news, bad news or dies. Leaving does not mean that I will stop caring about you. You will always be in my heart and prayers. If I am invited by your pastor, I will return for visits and/or special Sundays.
Allen-Lee will always bring a smile to my face ... because your faces will come to mind. God still has so many great adventures for you to enjoy ... so, go on!