The opening words from the song “So Long, Farewell” in the Musical Sound of Music fit my mood as I write to you this morning:
There's a sad sort of clanging/From the clock in the hall/And the bells in the steeple, too
I have always hated saying goodbye. I remember as a ten-year old visiting my Grand-parents for a few weeks at Christmas and tearing up, not wanting to leave, that heavy feeling in my insides. I feel it again as I say goodbye to you all, to Corpus Christi, to the Archdeaconry and Diocese. It is a sign, I think, of having been happy in this space.
As Dawn said at our Farewell on Sunday, my time at Corpus Christi has been a space of growth on many levels for me, and this is true both at Parish and Diocesan level. I leave feeling I have gained far more than I have given, with thankfulness for all of you. And I will remember you, our diversity and ability to embrace each other, as I begin the next chapter.
While there is sadness, there is also the expectant joy of new beginnings, a different adventure, a new hope. Dawn and I look forward to building a new sense of togetherness in our new home and Parish as we begin a new Chapter that marks that transition into the second-half of life. We have become aware over the last while that with adult children we need to identify new priorities for our relationship and for ourselves, and we look forward to Cape Town as a space in which we will be able to explore and build in new directions.
I have also been aware over the last while, that while the Churchwardens and Council have continued to affirm my ministry at Corpus Christi, that it is also time for you to transition into a new space. It has been exciting to see how we have embraced the mission and vision identified during 2012, and in many ways that is my parting gift to you. Our mission and vision reflect the growth that has taken place in our midst over the last almost nine years, and gives impetus to being a community that impacts on the greater breadth of our involvement in the world for God.
As Corpus Christi enters in to what will hopefully be a brief interregnum, I pray you will hold fast to the promises of Philippians 4:4-9 (NRSV), that says:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Thank you from Dawn and myself for our wonderful Farewell last Sunday. It was truly a blessing to be reminded of our glorious diversity as we celebrated our heritage together! Thank you for all the wonderful gifts that will remind us of you all in the future. And if you find yourselves in Cape Town, please give us a call as it will be wonderful to catch-up.