All our meals and all our living
make as sacraments of you,
that by caring, helping, giving,
we may be disciples true.
We will serve with faith anew.
“Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether” (Hymn 318)
When I walked into the 11 Garden St entrance of First Church for the first time as a divinity school student, I never could have imagined the depth of beauty, joy, challenge, grief, and trust in God we have known together the past five years. What an adventure and blessing for us all it has been! I write to you, dear church, to say goodbye as our time together draws to a close, and as we take the next steps into each of our own new adventures in ministry at the end of August.
As I reflect on our time together, I cherish the ways in which we have been formed by each other. We have prayed together on park benches, on prayer walks, and on Healing Sundays. We have asked good and important questions together about God, our lives, and our ministry. We have blessed one another with oil and with home-cooked meals. We have supported each other in small groups, retreats, and committee meetings. We have invited our bodies into the practice of our faith and spent hours with our floating heads on Zoom. We have engaged with the work of justice with humility, curiosity, and dedication. We have been honest and have told the truth in love. We have set up countless tables and chairs and broken them down. We have confirmed our young people, and we have celebrated baptisms (outside, on Zoom, and in the sanctuary). We have said goodbye to some of our beloved, and we have welcomed new members of all ages. We have laughed and shed tears, shared hugs and maintained social distance. And in all of these things, you’ve become a hybrid church and embraced new technology in the midst of a global pandemic, ready for the next chapter ahead.
With each challenge and opportunity, we have learned and have grown together, listening to the whispers of the Holy Spirit inviting us all into curiosity and creativity to do God’s work in a world that dearly needs it. First Church, you have hearts that are deeply committed to embody God’s love and justice in this life. I am grateful to God that you are a part of this world and that you have been such an important part of my journey. Each and every one of you has shaped the beginning of my ministry and who I am as a minister. For that, I say thank you. As we say goodbye, my hope is that you all know that I will hold First Church in my heart and in my prayers, always.
Yours in Christ,