When I leave the office for the day and say good-bye to Mary our secretary, she will often say, “So long.” I tease her and say, “Who says ‘so long’ any more. It sounds like something out of the “Sound of Music.” Being the good secretary that she is, she doesn’t back down and she comes back with a good comment of her own.
So I thought it would be fitting to call this my “So Long Pastor’s Epistle.” The month of May will be my last month with you before I retire. On Sunday May 15, we will celebrate my retirement and my time with you as pastor. My last Sunday and last official day as your pastor will be May 22.
Saying “good-bye” or “so long” has gotten more difficult since I announced my retirement in September. Since that time, I have experienced my last Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve Service, Love Feast, Easter, and Roast Beef Dinner with you. Each of these events, as we get closer to May 31, brings home the reality that I am indeed leaving. And this is not easy for Pat and me. It’s hard to say good-bye and it is a sad time. You have cared for us very well. Of all the churches I have served in my career as pastor, Green Tree has treated me extremely well with great respect and you have made intentional efforts to let me know that you genuinely care for my well-being. I do look forward to retirement but at the same time, I want to say that Green Tree will always have a special place in my heart.
Some of you have asked me what is next. We will be relocating to Manheim in Lancaster County. Our address is 75 Miller Drive, Manheim, PA 17545 (717-879-6039). Please come visit us. I plan to look for some part-time work that may involve teaching in higher education, administrative work, or some type of chaplaincy work. As Pat and I transition into this change of pace, we look forward to traveling and simply spending more time together.
Let me close by thanking all of you for allowing me the privilege and honor of serving as your pastor. I cherish the relationships that we have developed over the past ten years and the opportunity to serve Christ together.
With much love,