It’s hard to believe that this is my last blog as your District Superintendent. Where has the time gone? It seems like it was just yesterday that we had my installation service at Conyers First UMC.
It’s been a pleasure serving alongside you for the past four years. You have taught me so much about church leadership and ministry. I’ve enjoyed hearing how God uses you to engage with your community as you imagine new ways to connect people with Jesus. You continue to amaze me with your resiliency and faithful dedication to God’s church. Now It’s time to say goodbye.
For many people, goodbyes are hard, uncomfortable, and can sometimes be awkward. So hard that many of us skip that step altogether within our relationships. Whether saying goodbye, as in “see you later,” or goodbye as a final step in moving on and creating closure in a relationship, we often deny ourselves the opportunity to practice this critical human interaction.
And as difficult as it can be, saying goodbyes give us a sense of closure. It’s a simple ritual that signals that we’re moving into a new phase of our lives. The word “goodbye” comes from the term “Godbwye,” a contraction of the phrase “God be with ye.” Perhaps you recognize this as the hymn “God be with you Till We Meet Again.”
After church, every Sunday in my childhood church, the congregation would sing a benediction song. We reached across the aisle to grasp the hands of our neighbors and sang, “God Be with you Till We Meet Again.” There was something special about this ritual for me. Like the song “It’s Such a Good Feeling” from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, holding hands and singing the hymn helped me believe that God would be with me until we met again.
So, as I say goodbye to you, I leave with an overwhelming sense of humble gratitude, knowing that God will be with you until we meet again. Thank you for allowing me to walk alongside you for the past four years. I’m proud of the fantastic laity and clergy who make up the 85 churches in the Central South District.
Dionne and I will always be grateful to you for making us feel welcomed when we visited your churches. We’re better people for having known and served with you.
Till we meet again, I leave you with my closing prayer:
May God guide your steps in all that you do from this day forward;
May God walk in front of you to lead you and tarry behind you, to keep you from straying.
May God hover above you to protect you, drop underneath you to support you, and most importantly, May God walk beside you because of the promise to never leave you.
On the Journey,