A FINAL NOTE FROM STEPHEN Six Things I know it is out of character, but I have truly been at a loss for words as I step over the line that separates an active from a retired pastor. Sometimes the best I can do is to repeat myself, as I am doing now with a paragraph from my note in last month’s Chimes which was entitled Two Things: I guess I am trying to say two things. The first is that I am more grateful to God than I can say for the immense privilege of having come to First Presbyterian Church. You have graced my life in countless ways. It is hard for me to say good-bye. But I am also saying that I am absolutely certain that God has great plans, for me and Caroline in retirement, but especially for this church. The church is already amazing, but even more amazing are the things that God will do in and through this church in the future. What a great time to be part of the First Presbyterian Church family. You have a front-row seat for the show God is about to put on; better yet, God is inviting each of you to come up on stage and steal the show.
And I have just four more things to say. Thing Three: As I am no longer your pastor, it would be inappropriate for me to carry out any pastoral activity. The relevant passage in the Book of Order is G-2.10: After the dissolution of the pastoral relationship, former pastors and associate pastors shall not provide their pastoral services to members of their former congregations without the invitation of the moderator of session. In a way, the fact that we are moving to Maryland at the end of February will make it easy to conform to this vital professional standard.
Which leads to the following three things: Thing Four: The congregation is greatly blessed that the Rev. Polly Deppen-Williams will be the Moderator of Session as the transition time between pastors begins. Polly is also the new Executive Presbyter of Central Nebraska Presbytery, and you will enjoy her worship leadership from time to time; and Thing Five: Thanks be to God, that the Session of First Presbyterian Church is capable and committed to meeting the challenges of the transition period. Be sure to let them know that they are in your prayers.
Finally, Thing Six: Blest be the tie that binds! The end of a pastoral relationship does not mean the end of friendship. This wonderful church will be in my thoughts and prayers every day, and I look forward to hearing from, and perhaps even seeing many of you in the future. After March 1 our contact information will be:
Stephen and Caroline Price-Gibson, 2602 Clarion Court #204, Odenton MD 21113