Monday, May 12, 2008

Fond Farewells

Yesterday was my last services in the parishes of Drumgath and Drumgooland (Rathfriland and Ballyward). Over the past few months I've become a part of the parish, through my college placement, helping with the pastoral work, as well as leading services and preaching. And now it's all over, ending the placement in preparation for ordination.

It's amazing how quickly you can become bound up in people's lives, and grow so attached to people. While there were no tears, it did feel strange driving over the Dromara hills yesterday morning knowing that it was for the last time, or driving away from Rathfriland after the two services back to back (with the crazy seven mile drive from Ballyward to Rathfriland to try and get the service to start on time...).

But as I said in the services, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have become part of their lives, and to share in ministry with them. They have been a great encouragement, support and help to me, and especially David Somerville, their Rector. I will not forget them in a hurry.

What made yesterday's final services even more special was their gift of my Preaching Scarf - so when I wear it, i will remember the people of Ballyward and Rathfriland.

Through the week in College Chapel, I was doing the readings at the Wednesday Holy Communion service. In Acts, I read of Paul summoning the elders from Ephesus to meet him at Miletus, and of his final charge to them.

'And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again.' (Acts 20:36-38).

Saying goodbye is not easy, but really and truly, it is not forever - one day we will again meet and be glad!

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