I had an experience this morning in church that never happened in the 40 years I've known my husband, Mike, a recently retired pastor. The staff-parish chairperson announced that one of the three pastors, Peter, will have a new appointment beginning July 1. Although I found out about this change a few days ago, I was surprised at my emotion when I saw Peter and his wife, Allison, drinking coffee before the service.
I am still new into "having a pastor." Mike and I had Peter and his wife, Allison, in our home many times for dinner. We love this young couple. Mike and Peter enjoyed wonderful conversations on various topics related to ministry. Allison was active in the clergy-spouse group in the conference so I saw her at meetings and events, not only on Sunday morning. Peter has been particularly helpful and insightful, meeting with me following the recent deaths of my parents. Mike and I have spent time with Peter, talking about his passions in ministry.
Peter was assigned to the church the same year Mike retired. We started attending the church, shortly after Peter began his ministry. I expected Peter's appointment to extend many years, as he is just now beginning to get several programs solidly grounded and flourishing. I was so disappointed to learn that Peter and Allison were re-assigned.
So, this morning I received a new perspective on pastoral appointments. I was always the one "moving on," often with sadness and the desire to stay longer. Now I know how a member of the congregation feels when a beloved pastor leaves.Through the years, I always had tears when our move was announced. This morning, I had a few tears when Peter's move was announced. I am thankful that we will have a few more months, when we can have Peter and Allison for dinner and discussion. Fortunately, facebook and other electronic media will enable us to keep in touch. I will miss Peter and how he brought God to me.