The idea of saying goodbye to so many people that I have deeply loved in this congregation for over 16 years is a daunting task. There are no good words. Everything feels inadequate. And I will miss Trinity in so many ways.
Ironically, helping people say goodbye to their loved ones is something to which I committed a great deal of time in my ministry. In a book entitled The Four Things that Matter Most, Dr. Ira Byock suggests that there are just four phrases – 11 words – that need to be said in order to maintain healthy relationships for living and to eventually say goodbye when the time comes for whatever reason. I share these phrases as a way of saying farewell and as a reminder. It is important for all of us to say these 11 words to our loved ones regularly, especially in the midst of changing times.
“Please forgive me.” To those whom I have unintentionally hurt or disregarded, please forgive me. To those who have felt unappreciated, unrecognized, or offended by my leadership style, please forgive me.
“I forgive you.” I have been incredibly blessed at Trinity by a supportive staff and congregation. In any places where I have been unintentionally hurt or disregarded, I forgive you.
“Thank you.” I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve in this place. When I was ordained in 1991, I never would have imagined that I would someday spend my last years of ministry at Trinity. None of us knows what God might have for us in the future. I have been blessed to minister with an incredible pastoral staff and leadership teams. The Holy Spirit led us together in a beautiful partnership for this season in the church. I will forever be humbled by and grateful for my years at Trinity. Thank you for all the ways that you have enriched my life.
“I love you.” You will never know how much love I carry in my heart for Trinity – the congregation and individual members. There are so many people who have touched my life in remarkable ways and left an indelible mark – those living and many who have died but live on in my heart. As I move into retirement, my love for you and the moments we have shared together will continue to bind us together in Christ’s love for all of us.
As I leave, I am excited about the future at Trinity. There are new and expansive visions on the horizon. There is an energetic, creative, and talented staff. Trinity’s pastors and leadership are excellent, and the congregation is filled with kind, generous, faithful people. I am confident that God has an amazing ministry and mission in store for all of you. After I retire, I will remain a member but will not be conducting funerals, weddings, baptisms, or any other functions normally carried out by a pastor in a congregation. This is done in order to help the transition and respect the integrity of the ministry in this congregation.
My husband, Kirk, joins me in thanking you for the joy of being part of Trinity. We plan to stay in Mason City but also expect to spend some extended time going north, south, and in the directions of our children. May you experience the grace and love of God in all the seasons of life.†