Thinking again of my leaving weekend. A couple of “leaving speeches” came to mind that I hope will give you a laugh today.
Story 1: I have been part of the most wonderful Ministry Team in Holy Trinity. I know that Wednesdays for a long time will be associated with memories of “Team Meetings” and the laughter, the decision making, the breakfasting together and praying together that went on there. These were times of warmth, genuine friendship and encouragement.
Teams are not always so harmonious! There was an assistant minister leaving a church where his relationship with the senior minister had been rocky: The senior minister spoke first at the “Farewell Gathering,” selecting words from John 10 verse 15: “The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling…” However, the assistant had also done what all ministers do from time to time but are not supposed to do: he had searched his concordance to find a verse he could select some words from to hang his thoughts upon, and he found one! He took some words from Genesis chapter 22 verse 5: “Abide ye here with the ass. I … will go yonder…”
Well, I am glad to say the congregation of Holy Trinity is being left in the most wonderful hands, indeed in the hands of folk who are my superior in so many ways in terms of gifting and ability.
Story 2: A minister was saying farewell to the Presbytery of Edinburgh a few years ago. He was a truly dignified man who was hugely respected by many, and rightly so. In his speech to us all, he referred to a celebratory evening in the pub with some of his friends. A member of his congregation had come up to him the following day and said, “Minister, I was sorry to see you leave the pub at quarter to eleven last night.” The minister replied to him, “Yes, I was sorry too, but you have to leave sometime!”
Oh for words to dumbfound the religious!