My husband, Mike's, last Sunday before retirement is June 26th. The next Sunday, July 3, he and the new pastor will participate in a unique ritual. Mike, at each of the four services, will "pass a stole" to the two new pastors. The church owns a set of green stoles, so Mike, to symbolize the change in leadership, will place a stole on the shoulders of each pastor.
Usually such an exchange is not possible because the old pastor has moved on to a new church in a new town. The congregation, will witness Mike's blessing of the new ministers coming to care for the flock whom he loved so dearly for fifteen years.
God, thank you for the cooperative way that change can occur in your name. Bless all of those who are moving to serve new churches. Guide those who are retiring or taking a leave of absence. Thank you for the opportunity that all of us have to care for those in the kingdom.