Two years ago I asked you to make a covenant with me. I asked this even though you were still very much in the throes of grief after parting from a long time minister. You were in serious disagreement with each other about the timing and process of that parting. Plus, you didn’t know me and you had no idea how you were going to emerge from your very challenging transition. In spite of all that uncertainty, I stood in your pulpit and you stood in the pews and we spoke these words to each other. Do you remember this Litany of Partnership?
Randy Burnham: I invite all Members and Friends to rise in body or spirit and enter into this covenant together with our interim minister.
Congregation: Reverend Roberta, we welcome you as our partner in ministry this interim year, as we stand at the threshold of our brief journey together.
Rev. Roberta: I am delighted to be your partner in ministry this interim year, as we stand at the threshold of our brief journey together.
Congregation: We will use our hands and hearts, our vision and voices, to heal and not to harm this beloved community through this time of transition.
Rev. Roberta: I will use my hands and heart, my vision and voice, to heal and not to harm this beloved community through this time of transition.
Congregation: We will dare to disagree agreeably with you, to dream what we may become and to freely venture the untried; for next year we shall part.
Rev. Roberta: I will dare to disagree agreeably with you, to dream what you may become and to freely venture the untried; for next year we shall part.
Congregation: We will share our portions of truth with you, and listen deeply and learn, that we may grow in wisdom and vision and understanding.
Rev. Roberta: I will share my portion of truth with you, and listen deeply and learn, that I too may grow in wisdom and vision and understanding.
Randy Burnham: In this brief and precious time together –
Congregation and Rev. Roberta: May we be a blessing to each other, and together, may we be a blessing to the world.
I could not have known, back in the fall of 2013, that this community would so urgently need your blessing. As we have recently learned, racism is rearing its ugly head right here in Westport. This congregation will be an important part of the response. You will stand on the side of love.
Throughout this two year interim you kept your promise to me. And I kept my promise to you. Part of the promise was the acknowledgment, right from the beginning, that at the end of this two year interim we would part. I will be around on and off until the end of June. My last service will be June 21st. I am working with the Worship Associates on the summer worship schedule. I am working with the Pastoral Associates to make sure somebody will be on call for emergencies during the month of July, when I will be packing and moving to Wilmington, DE where I will serve as their developmental minister for a minimum of three years.
I’m delighted that at this time of parting we can all feel so very good about what we have accomplished together. I am delighted that you have a new ministry to look forward to, as do I. None of us know the exact shape of our futures. But one thing I know for sure: even in parting, you and I will continue, each on our separate paths, to be a blessing to the world.