“There is a time”.

What do you say when you are into your tenth and last year of ministry with a beloved community, and here you are at your last Annual Meeting [with that community anyway]? This was what came to me. Context- in case you haven’t read my previous posts- this community has recently completed a significant renovation project.

Not everything happens at the right time or the right season, not to my mind anyway. But some things do have a time and a season.

And in my tenth year with you, the season of my active ministry is nearing its end, not just because my body wants me to retire, but for your sake too.

I have offered you almost everything I have to offer you. Together we have done what I came here to do with you. Together we have stepped towards a new chapter in your life. It’s time to invite someone new to help you write that chapter.

God is doing a new thing with you and among you. That’s important. A new thing.

Even if you enjoy life here now, even if you’ve enjoyed the last 10 years, remember: we’ve been opening doors and spaces and possibilities the last 10 years, and I hope you will continue to open your doors and hearts to whatever is next.

The church -both building and community- is often pictured as a ship.

They are supposed to move.

They’re supposed to go somewhere.

The only ships that don’t move are museums.

Museums are wonderful -but that’s not the job of a working ship.

And a church that wants to stay alive can’t be a museum either.

A church has to move-

Move with the winds of God,

The Spirit.

You have made this choice- to be a working ship-

Not just to stay afloat, avoid sinking-

But to move with the Spirit.

Attending to time and tide and season.

And of course a working ship needs a good crew working together-

 you’ve got that, 

In abundance.

That was well tested last winter –

If you can take a trip like that,

Well,  who can set limits on what you may yet do and where you may yet go.

As I finish out  my season with you-  

 I will be urging you to stay open to something new.

When you think about what’s next,

There is no clone of me out there, even if you wanted one! 

And truly you don’t want one!   

As times change, your needs change.

It  won’t hurt my feelings if you seek, and if you find, someone very different from me- 

It wouldn’t even surprise me – I can think of some good stuff which  I’m not the right person to do and likely someone else would be.  

So today and in days to come,

May  Light and Love and Wisdom guide you forward

Into newness of life in the season that awaits. 

May it be so!

Author: janedoull

I’m an eclectic writer and thinker . In the past I’ve been an adult educator and a United Church of Canada minister . Now I’m a freelance retiree.

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