Sixteen years ago, Jeff accepted a call to come to Battle Creek, Michigan in the midst of a thunderstorm. Last Sunday, in the middle of a pandemic, the congregation agreed to dissolve the relationship so he could retire, and move near family living out of state. It thunderstormed immediately after the meeting.
Sixteen years. Sixteen good years. Sixteen years when we came to call many people in this congregation friends — more so than in any other congregation. Leaving is bitter-sweet.
We met in the parking lot, attempting social distancing. It was the first time many of us had seen each other in four months.
Susie asked if we would stay if she promised Jeff an unlimited supply of chocolate chip cookies. Tempting. She makes a mean batch of cookies.
The conclusion of this era won’t be completed until the end of October. So we have more time for good-byes. Under normal circumstances, we’d be partying the next few months with friends. However, there is nothing normal about a pandemic.
Stay healthy. Stay true. We will miss you terribly. We travel new seas. But we will meet again. Jesus promised.