As you will have heard by now, at the September 19 meeting of the Session I shared my intention to retire as of January 31, 2018. And as I wrote to you in the letter sent the next day, my retirement comes with very mixed feelings. I am already learning that the process of retirement is much like a funeral. It is, for me, a process of letting go of a congregation and a ministry I have come to love deeply. It means the ending of a path of life, as a pastor, on which I have traveled for forty years. So as look to the future I am very conscious of what I am losing, and worried about being lost as well.
Now is a good time to learn from the trees, especially the ones whose leaves turn bright colors
before they drop from the limbs, as fall gives way to winter. The fall colors teach us to be joyful in the good gifts that God gives, even though we know they will not last forever. And over the years, we come to recognize that the colors of each fall are reminders that all things have their appointed time, and while every fall heralds the winter that is coming, so each promises the spring that will again burst forth to renew the earth.
I know what the privilege of being your pastor for the last 6 and 1⁄2 years has meant to me, and so I give thanks to God and to you for the crowning joy of my vocation as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). So whatever season my pastorate has meant for you: winter, spring, summer or fall, take heart in the knowledge that it has been but a step towards better and newer things that God has promised to this church and each of you. See, I am making all things new! (Rev.21:5).
See you in church!