Saying good-bye is never easy.
In this final month with you, the core of my job will be saying good-bye. I am ending my relationship as your minister. It’s a little harder that there is no one on-deck to take my place. Still the ending, like all endings, would be hard even if there were.
The relationship between a minister and a congregation is unique. In these last six years, I have gotten to know most of you more deeply than a casual acquaintance. You have confided in me. You have shared special moments with me. You have learned about me from my pulpit presence and the many interactions we have had in meetings and in passing.
And I am going away.
Because I will no longer be your minister, I have to set particular boundaries as we move forward. Experience has found that a clean break with a former minister creates more opportunity for the congregation to know itself and develop in its own way. The general expectation in UU circles is that a minister stay away from a previously served congregation unless invited for a particular occasion (like a ministerial installation or centenary or such). I will not be able to return to officiate at any rites of passage. We need to leave a vacancy for a new minister to step in who may have different priorities and ways of interacting
After all, it is the members that comprise the congregation, not the minister. You don’t need my continued advice or connection. I have confidence that this congregation, even without immediate ministerial presence, will thrive. I know that because I know the leadership that exists and the members who comprise this precious institution.
So, please join us for the farewell celebration planned for June 11, if you can. And do take advantage of planned Zoom or coffeehouse hours–or drop by the office during office hours. Taking leave is a ritual that we need to acknowledge and celebrate
We have done good work together these past six years. And I will miss you.
Oh … and you may be wondering what I will be doing. Jane and I will move to her cabin in the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma. We will base out of there and do some traveling in our camper van. We also hope to volunteer in some parks. I’ll continue to do some spiritual direction and may not be able to keep myself from occasionally preaching in Oklahoma congregations.
All my best wishes to UUFM and to all its members and friends, Jonalu
Contact Rev Jonalu Johnstone at firstname.lastname@example.org until July 18.