As you know, we have a tradition of asking people who are leaving our community to come forward at the end of service to send them forth with our blessing. Both Mindy and life itself conspired against our having that opportunity at her leave-taking.
So, as we have with folks who’ve passed away and there won’t be a service for, as a second best, we offer a write-up with which to give thanks for her time amongst us and to help us all send her forth with our blessing.
Our first roadblock to doing something more, the tradition of bringing folks forward for a benediction, and a special coffee hour afterwards, was Mindy not wanting anything! So we talked her into letting us take her out to dinner instead. It was to be this coming Monday night and a nice cross-section of our community was going to represent the whole church.
Unfortunately, Mindy and Patrick’s housing arrangments in Kalamazoo hit a snag, and suddenly they needed to head out there early to figure out where they might live. So, on Thursday, it became clear that Friday had to be her last day. They and Oliver headed out to Michigan in the on Saturday.
So, Mindy has finished her tenure with us. Teresa got a few days of intro. with Mindy, and Michael and folks from our governing teams will help her with the rest if her orientation.
Without much of an opportunity to say thank you and goodbye, we can still lift Mindy up in our prayers. She came to Old First just seven months after Michael did. Besides him, she served as our only other full-time employee in her service as our Church Administrator. She was a good colleague to Michael. And support of many in our community and from beyond. She was for some of you the presence of the church when you stopped by our called.
We give thanks to God for the gifts and graces Mindy shared with us. For her five plus years among us, for her hard work and her willingness to do what needed to be done (even sometimes what she shouldn’t have had to be doing!), for the things she figured out — from IT stuff to building systems, for the people she supervised and related to, for all that she watched over and kept going, for her care for the church and the community. We have confidence in Teresa as Mindy’s successor, but Mindy will be missed. There will not be another Mindy.
And with the uncertainty of their living arrangements on top of all the other transitions involved in relocating, we have another reason to keep Mindy and Patrick in our prayers.
We will update their contact info. in online directory on REALM as soon as we receive their new address, so that you might, if you wish, stay in touch. Similarly, we are continuing to take up a collection of a parting gift. (If you wish to contribute, send a check to the church — or place it in the collection plate — with the notation’s “Mindy’s parting gift.”)
From the Liturgy of Farewell in UCC’s Worship Book:
Our church family is constantly changing.
People come and go.
Babies are born.
Children grow up.
People commit themselves to one another.
Loved ones and friends among us come to the end of their lives.
Individuals move into our community and church life.
Others leave us, moving away to new places, new experiences, and new
It is important and right that we recognize these times of passage, of endings
Today we share the time of farewell with Mindy and Patrick who are leaving:
(I’ve borrowed from and adapted the prayer of the church when a pastor is leaving, and you might actually make this part of your prayer for Mindy…)
We receive what you have given with thankfulness,
we offer forgiveness, just as we ask for forgiveness
for any mistakes that have been made,
and we accept that you now leave to live, worship and serve elsewhere.
We express our gratitude for your time among us.
Your influence on our faith and faithfulness will not leave us at your departure.
Go with God,