I love the musical “The Sound of Music.” I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but like “The Wizard of Oz,” it was on TV at least once a year as I was growing up. I bring up this musical because there is one song that has been rattling around in my brain for the past few days – “So Long, Farewell.” Part of the chorus – which most of you probably recall – goes like this:
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight…
Interim ministry is a fascinating journey, both for the churches I serve and for me. There are myriad aspects I thoroughly enjoy. Yet the one part that is so difficult is leaving. And, we are now at that point.
When I agreed to come to Central Christian Church, it was with the agreement that I would not be considered for the position of the settled Pastor. The most important reason for this is that we kind of “fall in love throughout my time here.” Yet, an interim role is to bridge the gap between the departure of one Pastor and the arrival of a new Pastor. Sometimes, this works to my advantage. Believe it or not, there are churches where an interim cannot wait to get out of there. Central Christian Church is not one of those.
I have seen and felt the deep love and concern you have for one another throughout my time here. It is a good feeling to know that as I depart and as your new Pastor arrives, the people of this church are ready to embark on the next leg of their journey. Continue to love one another, embrace your new Pastor and be open to his leadership, teaching, and preaching. I know you will.
Please know you shall forever be in my heart. I will continue to hold you in my prayers. And while I must separate from the life of the church for at least one year, I know that this is not goodbye, but instead “So long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehn….”
I’d like to conclude with Paul’s words to the church at Philippi and make his prayer for the Philippians my prayer for you.
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.