For some events in life it is good when higher assemblies come up with superior terminology. Susan’s leaving of the pastorate at First Reformed Church is called “the dissolution of the pastoral relationship”. Think about this! Apparently, it needs a steep expression in order to express something that cannot be fully expressed – despite the Protestant understanding of a pastorate as an office rather than the indelible character of a person.
Of course, the office is over, but to many of us – including myself – Susan remains a pastor, because this is how her identity is shaped and how many respond to her. Of course, medieval glory no longer accompanies this sort of thing. Otherwise, she would not have accepted a suggestion from the Personnel Committee to continue, at least temporarily, as our church secretary.
I am always amazed at what surprising constellations a small church like ours can come up with. The underlying reason is simple: We value relationships more than formalities, and we tend to prefer pragmatic ways, even if they seem unusual.
The pictures show that even in a moment of farewell, there was a lot of genuine joy. Many spoke commemorating highlights in Susan’s ministry, and there was no end to the food on the tables. Thank you, all of you, who helped making this a special day!
Susan writes: Thanks to all who made this farewell special. I was particularly moved by the book presented to me by the Christian Education Committee together with the children. Also, the ceramic pot, which the congregation presented to me, is now adorning my office. Please stop by and see how lovely it looks.