It was a quiet, cold but sunny Tuesday late morning when as usual, my phone vibrated. I jumped up to see what was coming in. Behold! It was an email from my very thoughtful superintendent The Reverend Debbie Lucas. I opened the email, read it and smiled. With her permission, this was what it said. I quote:
As you know, the next edition of the plan covering March, April and May is being prepared. I wasnt to give you the option of writing the letter/article for the edition, as this will probably be the last opportunity you have to write such an article whilst in the South Holderness Circuit. I think folk would appreciate hearing from you.Rev Debbie Lucas, Letter to Lansford
Pondering at the email, it became real that I will be leaving South Holderness and all sorts of feelings and emotions rushed into my head. The thought of leaving South Holderness brought mixed feelings of sadness, satisfaction and serenity.
Sadness – Because the time has finally come to say goodbye to all the lovely friends that I’ve worked with, in the CLT and circuit meeting making some tough and some easy decisions.
Sadness – because I’m saying goodbye to lovely folk that I’ve worked with, in the churches of South Holderness.
Sadness – because I’m saying goodbye to colleagues and to a community of faith where I found so much love, joy and accomplishment.
Sadness – because I’m leaving, but be assured that I will be with you in spirit. I will mention you quite a lot in my new appointment: don’t worry, they will all be positive references. They will know a lot about you, hear a lot about you because there’s a lot to be said about how God is moving powerfully among you all here.
Sadness – because it’s time to say goodbye. However, the thought of leaving South Holderness also brought satisfaction.
Satisfaction because the time has finally come to respond to God’s sending mission to go somewhere else (Missio Dei). It also brings a sense of accomplishment. I feel that we have done all that God ordained for us to do together.
I came here with little or no experience of ministry in this context and culture, yet you graciously welcome me and receive what I brought and offered to the circuit with love. The though of leaving South Holderness also brought about serenity.
Serenity. A feeling of calmness and peace about the future which I know very little about. I am going into this new future in the name of Christ, putting my faith in him to equip and make me words of my Spiritual Director: “God, who calls and sends, equips.”
Part of this new future starts with my sabbatical, as you may know. Grace and I will be spending five weeks in Sierra Leone and then six weeks in Malawi.
During this time, Grace and I will continue our research about a book we are planning to write in the future. During this time also we will reflect on our walk with God and the works of “Send a Child to School”. I am aware some of you are concerned about the rest. Don’t worry, we will definitely find time to relax (I promise).
So please think of us in your prayers as we will be “Researching, Reflecting and Relaxing” in Malawi and Sierra Leone.
As I conclude this final letter to the people of South Holderness, let me draw you attention to the prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples before he left them:
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one. Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.John 17:20-21
With this prayer in mind, may God help us to be united. May we work hard to keep the unity of God’s people and may we bear the good fruits of a united circuit. May we be one in Christ.