I mean more than just goodbye and thanks for the opportunity to share a journey with you, Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ.
And I do not mean a farewell like the one in the timeless “Sound of Music” when the children give each other a gentle kick in the … pants, as they sing. Remember? You can see it in this clip:
Nor is my farewell meant to signal a resistance to or escape from what is yet to happen, such as the poignant scene in the same musical when the Von Trapp family refuses to be party to values they cannot accept:
My farewell is a more a literal “fare thee well.”
I mean it to be a goodbye which prays that in the days ahead the congregations, clergy, lay members, and whatever judicatory refinements there may be, will flourish in faithfulness, responsiveness, and collaboration – with one another, and more importantly, with God.
It is a prayer that Christ’s church in this area will build a covenantal community which depends less on autonomy and favors more the call to accountability.
When this issue of Connections shows up in your inbox, it will be the last opportunity I have to comment about life and faith in the Ohio Conference. A final report of activity and observations will be shared with the Board of Directors at the end of August, and a more lengthy recounting of these past two years will be in reports prepared for the September Annual Gathering.
So I offer
not just farewell as in goodbye,
but truly, beloved family of God –
MAY YOU FARE WELL!
John M Gantt, retired – again!