Dear Members and Friends,
Grace and peace to you in the name of the One God — Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer — who walks with us in all the seasons of life.
Life in God’s community of faith in Christ is a life of changing seasons. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted...a time to -weep and a time to laugh...” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). And we don’t often get to choose when these seasons begin and end, do we? And even if we think we do, each change of seasons is accompanied by a variety of emotions — joy, sadness, confusion, second thoughts, third thoughts, regrets,. . . joy, sadness, confusion, etc.. .. Our season of journeying together as pastor and faith community is coming to an end on June 23, as I prepare to move to Belgrade Lakes, Maine, and begin serving as pastor of Union Church of Belgrade Lakes UMC. And preparations are Well underway for the arrival of Pastor Leanne Zeck, who will begin serving Centenary UMC on July 1.
A time to pack, and a time to unpack — that’s the verse that we United Methodist itinerant ministers would add to Ecclesiastes 3! While this packing and unpacking has much to do with plastic totes and those great boxes from the liquor store that are so perfect for packing books, it encompasses a whole lot more. Mark and I have been making time to sort before We pack. And so we are trying to pack only those items that we believe we will need, or those items that have attached to them treasured memories that render them essential, if not useﬁil. But far more important than the iteg that we are packing are the memories that we am “packing” to take with us on our journey. The past ﬁve years contain far more treasured memories than we would ever have imagined possible! We have walked together through a great deal in your lives, and in our lives. I will forever cherish the memories of your incredible and loving support. We have walked together through times of great joy and times of heartbreaking sorrow. These memories that we are packing up are memories that we will unpack again and again as we so lovingly remember all of you and the season we spent together.
A time to be your pastor, and a time to be your friend... As is so true in life, even as one season ends, another begins. Pastor Leanne will very soon be here to journey with you as your pastor — to minister with you and to you in the good times and the hard times, in the times of celebration and in the times of sorrow that will inevitably come. And I will joumey forward as your friend — your sister in Christ, loving you from a distance, across the miles. And so, as trite as it sounds, I do not say “goodbye,” but rather, “farewell...” as in, may you fare well in this next season of your lives — your individual lives, and in your life together as God’s beloved community of faith and as Christ’s holy and blessed Church. May God’s most abundant blessings be upon you now and always.
Together in Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Eleanor Collinsworth