Every Time We Say Goodbye

Those are the opening words of Cole Porter’s 1944 classic and, I believe, a pretty good way to begin this, my last Connection article. I say that because this is not the first time we’ve said “goodbye,” and maybe not the last. Who knows what the future holds for any of us?

Many years ago, Pastor Wil Bloy planted a seed in me which took root and grew under Pastor Lowell Bartel’s nurturing hand. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for the new direction my life took back in 1999. Lowell welcomed me to join him here as a lay minister, a position I was blessed to enjoy for four years.

But God had bigger plans for me, and so, in the summer of 2003 we said goodbye for the first time as this congregation sent me off to the good folks at Faith United Methodist Church. I did feel a little bit like a bird being pushed out of the nest as I wasn’t really sure what this whole pastor business was all about, but those wonderful people helped me to learn and to lead.

And then, in 2012, like a bad penny…I came home! Actually, Pastor Kelly asked the Bishop and the cabinet to have me appointed back here where it all began. That doesn’t happen very often so I was overjoyed when they agreed. To be able to come home and again, to be among the people who sent me into ministry, was a dream come true. I will never, ever forget that Kelly went to bat for me and I will be forever grateful.

I don’t think anyone could ask for anything more than to begin their time in ministry alongside Lowell Bartel…and to end their time next to Kelly Fowler, two of the finest pastors I’ve ever known. You may have noticed that most Sundays at the conclusion of worship, Kelly and I hold hands as we leave the sanctuary. We do that because we are a team…plus, we really like each other!

I also have to give a big “shout out” to Paula Zarling, our Office Administrator. I can’t thank her enough for her listening ear, her helpful edits of my bulletins, and especially for guiding this luddite through the intricacies of new technology.

But when I count all the many blessings I have received here in this place…I think of you. You have offered me friendship, guidance, encouragement, and support. You have invited me into the most sacred spaces of your lives and you have called me your pastor. I am humbled to have served you and you will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Until we meet again, Pastor Andy