by June Boutwell, Designated Conference Minister
My deepest thanks for allowing me to be a partner in ministry in the Southeast Conference for the last three years. I said at the Transition Celebration that I will carry a heartful of stories with me as I go. I am deeply grateful for those who stepped up to serve in leadership in the Southeast Conference during my tenure and helped build a solid foundation for ministry during the interim and as you live into God’s dream for you as beloved community. I commend you to Rev. Marie Bacchiocchi as she begins her ministry among you and commend her to you as a gifted and engaged leader. My prayers will remain with you.
Thank you for all the cards and gifts and fond farewells over the last few weeks. They mean so much. I am headed out to be with family for a few weeks. I will begin a local church interim at Zion’s Reformed Church in Greenville, Pennsylvania right after Easter Sunday. I will not be engaged in following any part of the ministry of the Southeast Conference but would be pleased to hear about your lives and catch up. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A pastor in the Southeast Conference shared this Shirley MacLaine quote and reflection with me a few weeks ago and I share it with you.
The pain of leaving those you grow to love is only the prelude to understanding yourself and others. Shirley MacLaine
Life is a process of letting go, letting go of conditions we can’t control, letting go of people-watching them move out of our lives, letting go of times, places, experiences. Leaving behind anyone or anyplace we have loved may sadden us, but it also provides us opportunities for growth we hadn’t imagined. These experiences push us beyond our former selves to deeper understanding of ourselves and of others.
So often those experiences that sadden us, that trigger pain, are the best lessons life is able to offer. Experiencing the pain, surviving the pain that wrenches us emotionally, stretches us to new heights. Life is enriched by the pain. Our experiences with all other persons thereafter are deeper. Instead of dreading the ending of a time, the departure of a loved one, we must try to appreciate what we have gained already and know that life is fuller for it. Today will bring both good-byes and hellos. I can meet both with gladness.