It's been a month since I last posted; the sermons in May were brief and kinda standard-issue: Flower Communion, which I rarely write something new for but just tell the story, and Memorial Sunday, which is more of a sharing service for everyone rather than a time for a sermon. I did speak the names of all those for whom I had performed memorial services during the nine years I have served this congregation, plus the names of my own dear ones who had died during the past year.
But primarily I've been involved in the whole moving-away and letting-go-of-ministry process. I've found a house to rent on the Oregon Coast and am looking forward to getting the key, commandeering my nephews into moving me down there, and starting to get settled in a new home. It's a sweet little house, on a creek, about ten minutes' walk from the shoreline, and, in another direction, ten minutes from the local coffee shop. It's 1200 square feet, all on one level, with lots of storage, and I feel very lucky to have found just what I was hoping for.
I will be staying on the island most of the summer, so that I can sing with the band, and will be house-sitting for a couple in the church who live on top of a hill outside Coupeville. I'll take care of their animals and property for a couple of months while Lily and Loosy stay with another couple in the congregation till I'm ready to take them to the coast. I should be moved into my new home around the first of September.
My going-away activities are in the works; yesterday, the lectionary group took me out to lunch after our last session together and we said goodbye. I will miss them very much on Friday mornings; they have been one of the most important groups in my island life, giving me encouragement and collegial support, even though our theologies are different.
My last two services with the congregation are June 10 and 24. I'll be posting those sermons as they are given and I'll try to be better about posting on this blog until the end of June. Then I have decided to chronicle my life in retirement, as an exercise in reflecting on who I am when I don't have a career ongoing. I want to continue to write and to express my experiences in words.
I'll probably start a whole new blog, but I like the Ms Kitty's title so well I'll figure out a way to keep the flavor of it while changing the topic from active ministry to active retirement.
The big retirement party will be June 16 and they're planning quite the bash. My band will play a short set, they will honor me with the title of Minister Emerita during the party, give me a Memory Book that has been in production for the past several weeks, and I don't know what all else.
On the 24th, I'm planning the final service with my Committee on Ministry; it will end with a ritual that will be something of a surprise to the congregation, though I've been telling a few people what to expect.
So, though many of my congregants are assuming that I am all torn up about leaving them, the truth is that I am thrilled to be laying down the mantle of ministry and letting someone else take it up. I am not grieving this change a bit, at least right now; I am so glad they've found a good candidate to take my place and I hope that works out really well. I am looking forward with glee to letting go of so much responsibility for other people and for leading the charge in progressive religious causes.
I've pretty much decided that when I do get ready to volunteer next winter (if then), I want to work with animals, with animal rescue if possible. I want to learn things I've never had time to learn in the interstices between work responsibilities. I want to rest! at least for awhile.