A Fond Farewell
Delivered By
From Pastor David
Delivered On
July 2, 2021
Description

                                                                                        A Fond Farewell
As I sit down to write this, I realize this will be my last newsletter article to you, Grace United Methodist Church. And I wonder, how do I begin to account for the ways God has been so good to us these last nine years? Honestly, I am unsure that any language can provide the words for it. As for Sherry and me, there have been some long days, but the years seem to pass so quickly. And yet, I find myself offering nothing but the sincerest gratitude to God for the relationships we made in our season of walking together. Each of you matters deeply to Sherry and me. Grace, you provided us with opportunities and challenges that took us deeper into the mystery of God’s love in Jesus Christ. You met us with a kind of love and acceptance that sustained us these years and helped make Grace and Union nothing less than home.


When I think of the time since we moved into the parsonage in the heat of mid-June 2012 until now, much has passed. You welcomed us like family and walked with us through many opportunities to honor God with our lives. You showered us with love and support that was surprising in its beauty and in its timeliness. You stuck by us through thick and thin. When I experienced the recurrence of cancer, the multiplicity of support shown through calls, meals, and cards of encouragement, along with the many ways you stepped in to continue ministry was overwhelming. I am continually in awe of how God’s love shined through you in awesome ways!


It has been our privilege and joy to spend these days with you, knowing, growing, and sharing Christ. I experi-enced the honor of your trust so many times by walking with you through heartaches, burying loved ones, sitting in hospital rooms or by hospice beds, listening, and hopefully helping to carry the struggles and burdens you shared. I was blessed to baptize your children, confirm their faith, preach the Gospel, preside at Christ’s table, and walk with you in ministry to Union and indeed to the world. And I do not take any of it for granted but humbled by the time we shared together. These memories and tokens of love you shared with Sherry and me are priceless treasures, that, rest assured, will carry us forward in our retirement.


One thing that makes leaving easier is that I know you will be in good hands after I am gone. I have known Lee for several years and know his pastor’s heart will be a blessing for Grace and Union. He will fit in well, and I have every confidence that he will lead Grace forward in a faithful and prosperous way. You will love Lee, Vick-ie, and their family, and I know they will love you well, too.
We struggle to find the words for how we feel, but perhaps simplicity is best: we love you so much. We are filled with gratitude for this season of our lives because we have seen Jesus in the words you speak, the tears you cry, the life you share, and in your hands that serve. We could not ask for more. Sherry and I are working through what it means not to spend each day with you in ministry, but then I remember that we are all still the church of Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters who share in the same baptism. We get to carry each other forever.


And so, as I write this, I hear the echo of Paul’s words in Philippians: “I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I am thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it is always a prayer full of joy. I am glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. And I am sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace.”


Blessings, peace, and love to each of you our dear friends. We love you with all our hearts and pray that the future shines brightly as ministry grows and God is honored.  With most affection, Sherry and David.