Dear First Church,
I write with sad and joyous news. I am sad because my last day with you all will be Sunday, December 25; and I am also joyous because I am blessed to have served and been a part of this beloved community for more than two years. After Christmas, I will be taking time to prepare for Jackie’s and my new addition to the family.
I thought meeting an entire church community online would be challenging, but your warmth and energy extended well beyond the screen, and I could tangibly feel your welcome and love. Just one month into our time together, you were brave enough to join me for a Faith & Life dancing group, movin’ and groovin’ to classics like, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You” and “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior,” (and yes, even Dolly Parton) with your cameras on! You met me with grace and open hearts as we danced our prayers on Zoom, on the front lawn, and later indoors when we were able to regather for in-person worship in the sanctuary.
I knew from the beginning that I was going to cherish my time with you. We shared our hearts and lives together, celebrating and embracing times of joy and holding one another in times of great uncertainty and grief. We created a prayer garden together near the playground where we wrote and planted our deepest hopes and worries. We sang carols on our lawn with hot chocolate. We told—and became a part of—the familiar story of the First Christmas in a truly hybrid worship service with cheer and wonder. We carried candles for Epiphany and palms for Palm Sunday through Cambridge Common, as we bore witness to the presence of Christ in our world.
And to my dear middle schoolers and highschoolers whom I had the honor of working with in Faith and Social Justice and in OWL: You are all incredible individuals with great, brave hearts. Your wisdom and passion are inspiring. Remember to cherish the parts that make you who you are, for you are a true gift to this world.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, First Church, for these past incredible two-and-a-half years. After Christmas, I look forward to seeing you again in the new year for worship on April 30 with Jackie’s and my little babe!
With deep gratitude,
We write with a follow-up note to Jaz’s big news! First, we are overjoyed for Jaz and Jackie, and we celebrate with them in joyful anticipation for what the coming months will bring! And, we are, of course, sad to see this wonderfully rich and creative time of partnering with Jaz come to a close. Jaz has generously and joyously shared with us her natural gifts for worship leadership, family ministry, earth stewardship, embodied prayer, small group facilitation, and so much more.
We will sorely miss Jaz’s upbeat presence, deep compassion, humor, wisdom, and leadership. And yet, as the angels say: fear not! For one thing, we are excited for Jaz’s next steps in her life, family, and ministry. We are also so grateful to have had the time we did, thanks in part to Covid relief funds which allowed us to hire her at her current capacity, and to our sabbatical reserve fund since she helped cover Sarah’s time away in the spring. Looking ahead, we are excited to maintain First Church’s teaching tradition and are eager for our ministerial interns, Ahmaad and Carla, to have all the more opportunity to serve and to help cover Jaz’s current areas of responsibility.
Friends, God is good! All the time! And sometimes, joy and sadness come hand in hand. Join us on Sunday, December 18, for our UnPageant and for an after-church cookie swap and reception in honor of Jaz, when we will thank her and thank God for our connection and all that is yet to come!
Dan Smith, Senior Minister
Lexi Boudreaux, Transitional Minister
Meredith Quinn, Moderator
Moana Bentin, Vice Moderator
Amy Matias, Co-Chair, Board of Deacons
Adam Weiss, Co-Chair, Board of Deacons