Praying Our Goodbyes
posted on June 21
PRAYING OUR GOODBYES
“May the Lord watch between thee and me,
while we are absent one from the other.”
Author and poet Joyce Rupp wrote a great little book called Praying our Goodbyes. I was first introduced to it long ago, and it has proven useful in my transitions. It speaks of the “spirituality of change” and the inner work that must be done when we move from one place to the next in our journeys.
We come to the time of the church year when we begin praying our goodbyes for those who have meant so much to our district and our churches. We are especially grateful for our Northern Piedmont retirees Ed Armfield, Keith Auman, A. C. Brock, Jerry Evans, Donna Friddle, Karen Hudson, and Tony Kindred, and to Bev Gaska and Don Tabler, who are returning to full retirement after assisting us so faithfully with part-time appointments. We are also grateful for Andy Schulze of the West Ohio Conference, who completes his part-time work with Mount Gilead UMC this month. We give God thanks that Tony Kindred will continue his great ministry to the athletes at HPU in retirement!
We also celebrate the work of Ellis Carson, Johnny Lord, and Wanda Lancaster, who will be ordained Elders in Full Connection, and we celebrate Caroline Franks, who will be commissioned as a Provisional Elder and Katey Galyon, who will be commissioned as a Provisional Deacon. Those services will take place this coming Saturday at Lake Junaluska, and I am grateful to be participating in those moments with them.
We also give God thanks for the ministry of the wonderful clergy who are transitioning to new ministries on June 30. Some are remaining with us in the District, but we bid a fond farewell to others:
Jonathan Brake - From Woodmont/Mission First to Mount Pleasant UMC (Sherrills Ford)
Brian Crady - From Mount Vernon UMC to Bradley Memorial UMC (Gastonia)
Kelly Crissman - Transitioning within our District (adding Newlyn Street UMC to form a charge with Sandy Ridge)
Michelle Foster-Beckerleg - From Deacon Associate at Woodmont/Mission First to Lead Pastor at Sparta UMC
Clarinda Crawford - Transitioning within our District from Highland-Rankin-Ward to the newly merged Rankin-Ward Street Mission
Donnell FitzJefferies - From St. Matthews UMC to University City UMC (Charlotte)
Willis Greene - Transitioning within our District (from Senior Pastor at First UMC High Point to Senior Pastor of the merged congregations of First UMC and Christ UMC High Point)
Jim Groome - Transitioning within our District (from Shiloh/Bethel to Intentional Interim at Mount Vernon)
Bonnie Harris - Transitioning within our District (from Moriah-Holmes Grove to Moriah UMC)
Chuck Hutchens - From Interim at Oak Grove (Mocksville) to Pastor at Eden-Mount Tabor (Madison)
Rod Ingram - Transitioning within our District (from Memorial UMC High Point to St. Matthews Greensboro)
Philip Kuntz - From Mount Zion (Stokesdale) to Associate Pastor at Main Street UMC in Kernersville
Colston Morris - From Salem-St. John to South Tryon Mission (Charlotte)
Cindy Nanney - From Spray UMC to Crowell Memorial-Palm Tree (Catawba Valley)
Keith Sexton - From Christ UMC High Point to Rosemary UMC in Roanoke Rapids (Returning to North Carolina Conference)
Ellen Spruill - From Interim Pastor at Newlyn Street to Pastor of Center-Salem (Mocksville)
Debra Swing - Transitioning within our District (from Deacon Associate at First UMC High Point to Deacon Associate of the merged congregations of First UMC and Christ UMC High Point)
John Woods - From Tabernacle UMC to First UMC Conover
We are grateful that we could keep some of our folks in the district, and we bid a sad but fond farewell to those who are leaving us. We know God is providing wonderful new people to come in their places, and we look forward to welcoming them soon. But we will miss you. You have been of great value to your churches and the Northern Piedmont District. This is our prayer for you:
Holy God of Life, Shepherd of our Ministries -
We thank you for all you have done through these servants who have been a part of our Northern Piedmont family. We send them to their new work with faith that you will equip them for every task and in the certain hope that you will be with them in each moment of their new ministries. Bless their churches and their families; ready them for the tasks ahead. Give them sacred space to pray their own goodbyes, and the trust to pass their ministries on to someone else so that they may take on what you need them to do next. And watch between us all, while we are absent one from the other. We will meet again, in your timing. Amen.
Praying with You,