+ celebrated the wedding of two dear souls in Kentucky
+ ravelled 2200 miles together in our 14 year old Subaru
+ submitted my intent to retire from full time ministry letter to our church community
+ gone and returned to Brooklyn, NY for our grandson's third birthday
+ led worship in the wake of our retirement announcement
+ and dealt with a nasty stomach virus
... no freakin' wonder we're both wiped-out! Feeling blessed and grateful, but also totally rung out and hung up wet to dry. After worship today I met with about 20 people to clarify and answer questions about my retirement announcement. It is a hard time for us all. As one person said: we always knew this time was coming... and now you have made tomorrow become today. We're all still kinda stunned. Me, too - but bringing a measure of focus was essential for my well being. Now we can negotiate a satisfying part-time job description and see where that leads us.
As another long-time member said: I have been grieving the death of our church. But today I know that it is good for that old corporate church to die and now I'm DONE with grieving. Let's get on with a new day. Exactly right, my man. This is an exciting and Spirit filled time for our faith community. Filled with anxiety, to be sure, but also filled with God's promises and presence. I have received incredibly tender notes of love and support throughout this past week. But better still were the shared embraces and tears I experienced today with special souls who have shared ups and downs with me in this weird life of ministry..Later this afternoon we kicked off our community CROP Walk, too (which I had to bow out of for health reasons) and then I got some work done for tomorrow morning's graveside service.
As this new week unfolds, there are LOTS of forms to fill out in anticipation of retirement and some other part-time job conversations to have, too. I'll also make the time to hoist a few pints with dear souls so that we stay connected. Then, next Sunday after worship I am honored to be included in Robert Hyde's installation service as associate pastor where I will bring the charge to the congregation (the spiritual challenge they are to embrace in this new shared ministry.)
Life is full and I am grateful to be at this stage in the journey. But there are no more road trips planned for the time being: it will be wonderful just to stay home and soak in the joy. Here are a few pictures from this whirlwind week that make my heart sing.