It’s happening. The lingering hugs in the receiving line, the wistful looks, the “We’re gonna miss you”s, followed by “and I’m gonna miss you!” Our two years together are drawing to a close. Freud said, “We grieve because we love,” and he was right. It hurts to say goodbye. One of the things that has been so extraordinary for me (and there have been many such things) in our time together, is that even though you knew it would hurt to say goodbye, you did not hesitate to share yourselves with me, to welcome me fully into the life and work of this congregation. Such an act of generosity of spirit for which I will always be grateful.
So we will say goodbye intentionally, lovingly, and well. I will preach my final sermon in Chelmsford on Sunday, June 4th. Many of you will attend my ordination in Northborough on Sunday, June 11th (at 3PM!), and I will spend my last Sunday with you on June 18th. It is customary for interns to stay out of touch with the congregation for a year after the internship ends. That can seem a bit harsh, unnecessary, even, but I can see the wisdom in it. It lets us acknowledge the ending of our time together as teaching congregation and student minister. It allows us time to regroup and reconstitute our lives – me without you and you without me. It allows you the opportunity to make space for your next intern whenever they might come along, as I do hope you will continue to be a teaching congregation; you are such wonderful teachers. And it allows me to make space in my heart and mind and daily routines for what is next for me.
At this writing, I am uncertain about where I will be called to serve. The competition for interim slots is steep this year, and I may not get one of those in this first time out of the gate. There are, however a number of contract ministry positions, and I am trusting that there will be a job in ministry for me somewhere. If I don’t have that all nailed down by the time I leave you on June 18th, I know that Reverend Ellen will keep you updated.
So let us continue to celebrate the good work we have done together and the connection we have made. Yours is a beautiful ministry and you a beautiful and wondrous people. I am so grateful to know and love you.