Mike, my husband, is down to eight weeks until retirement. He is doing much better than I am with the change that is before us. I am really going to miss the people in the congregation. During the past fifteen years, we have grown close to so many families, watching children grow up, get married and then have their own children. Being part of graduations, marriages, baptisms, anniversaries, funerals, and other events that bring meaning to a family have wrapped our hearts in love.
We visited a few churches in our area, but no place seemed to draw us. Maybe we will need to leave our current church before we have energy to invest in another place.
Looking for a new church has also reflected the importance of being a friendly, welcoming church to visitors. A newly created position at church - connection coordinator - began last fall. The young woman hired for this ministry, is aware when visitors attend on Sunday morning. She asks them about their interests and sometimes by the end of the day, she has given their names to the individual concerned with a particular ministry.
One church we attended did connect me with a person in charge of new members. When I told her three different areas of ministry in which I was interested, she forwarded me the three emails she sent to the persons involved. That was a month ago, and I haven't heard anything.
I realize too that I have never had to reach out and find my own path - people always came to me and invited me to various parts of church life.
I was talking recently to a friend at the YMCA whose husband is one of the pastors at a Presbyterian church. Her husband is retiring in two years. Last year, the denomination had a pre-retirement two day retreat. Part of the time was spent dealing with financial aspects of retirement. In addition there were a couple of sessions for pastors and spouses discussing the emotional and spiritual components that retirement will bring.
Although the Indiana Conference has an annual required "Making A Good Move" day and a half program for those moving, there is nothing similar for those retiring. Maybe developing a one day event is something Mike and I can do in retirement.
Needless to say, I need to increase my faith and trust in God for what the future will hold.
God in times of change, help me remember that you are the constant, ever present, ever ready to help. Amen.