This is the final blog I’ll be writing for Emerson UU Church. It is time to say thank you and goodbye. My last worship service will be this coming Sunday, June 18th. We will end that service by releasing each other from the covenant we made when I first arrived here almost three years ago and then celebrate our time together and say our in-person goodbyes.
In some ways, it has been a long three years. We went through a pandemic, and its many phases together. We learned new ways of doing church together. We celebrated many lives and said many goodbyes together. We went through search, yours, and mine together.
And so, there are many thank yous to say. Thank you for sharing this portion of your journey with me. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. I am honored to have been your minister and I am grateful for our time together.
You, as a congregation, as a community of faith, have been transformed these past few years, perhaps even in ways you do not realize yet. I know it has been challenging to learn new ways. Thank you for doing the difficult work of shifting your congregational culture and becoming a stronger and healthier community.
You have likely heard me quote my mentor many times in saying that the primary task of the interim minister is to give the church back to the congregation. This church is not mine, nor is it Becky’s, or Mark’s, or Frank’s, or any of your past ministers. It is yours. You have learned how to share leadership, how to collaborate, with each other and with your minister. It will still take practice, especially as new people cycle in and out of leadership, but you are on your way. Know that I am proud of you for all that you have accomplished.
As we say goodbye, it is important for you to know that there are some professional ethics that you and I must abide. The purpose of these is similar to other professional relationships you may have experienced and that is to shift your care to your new minister. I know this is difficult – it is for me, too. We loved and celebrated and grieved and worked and worshiped and, in general, spent much time together. All this remains true, even as you prepare to welcome in Rev. Ed.
So, here’s how this goes… we will soon cease being in intentional contact with each other. I will “unfollow” you on Facebook so that you can continue to see my posts and updates, though I won’t see yours, nor will I respond to any comments you leave. Any questions pertaining to Emerson that you need to ask me can go through Rev. Ed. He will always know how to reach me. And as I am both remaining in Texas and a UU minister, there may be occasions when we encounter each other – perhaps at a minister’s ordination or installation, or some kind of regional gathering, or at a protest, or at General Assembly. Don’t worry, if that happens, you won’t have to pretend you didn’t see me. We can still say hello and warmly greet each other.
Whether we see each other again someday, or not, I will always carry you with me in my heart.
May All that is Holy be with you for this day and all your days.