It may have been a surprise last Sunday to hear I’m retiring from 24 November. A little earlier than expected, perhaps, though I am older than I look on a good day! I turn 68 in January 2020. It is time to use the energy I still have to enjoy a life not scheduled into work patterns.
If life is like a motorway, the next exit for Roger and me to take an off ramp from one journey and beginning another. I still feel too young to be saying “I’m retiring”. (Some of you know that feeling). As I worked through this process, I first felt panicky, then interested and now am very interested! It’s novel making decisions, not needing to run the idea past a workgroup or Council first!
Timing is dictated by the need to get our Dunedin house on the market by January. There’s never a good time to leave. I am aware others will pick up tasks in the interim and that the interim could be a lengthy one. Please ask about any aspect of church life where you now feel concerned about what will happen after November 24th.
Retiring from the full-time ministry is separate from leaving St Andrew’s. Leaving St Andrew’s is a wrench. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. You have been very welcoming and affirming. The open atmosphere of the church has encouraged me to explore in ways I have not experienced elsewhere. There are lots of conversations and insights I will treasure. Thank you.
Stepping back from full active ministry is the end of an era. (A relatively short era of 24 years). In six different parishes, the experiences were unique but strangely similar between the different contexts. It is an honour to be part of people’s lives as they make transitions, working out what they think and in what they are prepared to put their trust. As I have said, if we could only but grasp it properly, this is an exciting time which demands new theological thinking and renewed spiritual practice. I will miss being in the thick of that.
One major disappointment is that from my first General Assembly in 1991 to this year, the church has not changed its mind regarding the inclusion of lgb people as elders or ministers. Twenty-eight years apparently isn’t long enough. I predict in the end it will be generations X or Y who will effect the change and that the successful push will come from the middle ground theologically speaking. I do not dare predict when it will come!
Speaking of contentious issues, submissions for the Abortion Registration Bill are due September 19. (We seem to notice these deadlines at the last minute!). Ellen Murray believes us putting in a submission would counteract very conservative views which might come from other churches and so provide balance. Because this is a contentious issue with, no doubt, a wide range of views in this church, Parish Council thought individual submissions would be better than one coming in the name of St Andrew’s on The Terrace. I am happy to collate ideas from a number of people and to pull a submission together. We can make the final submission available for people to sign up to if they want and we can take the signatures to the select committee hearing. Please send ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – perhaps write the paragraph you would like delivered and I can see how things collate early next week.
On Sunday we celebrate the Cosmos! I’m looking forward to that. There will be no Rainbow Room as Jules is on annual leave, but the children will make stars during church. After church the Exploring Faith study group will continue discussing chapter 6 of David Tacey’s Religion as Metaphor.
See you there.
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