My last Sunday as an active pastor in the Presbyterian Church came to an end last night and it was quite a day! Peter and Sandy (Karen's brother) and family came from North Dakota, where he serves as Lutheran pastor, and spent the week-end with us. Berit drove up from Minneapolis for the occasion. The house was a mess with the packing, but we enjoyed the visits. Wish all of you could have been here, but you were in spirit, and I held each of you close to my heart and memory all day.
The sanctuary was filled with people from Osakis, Keewatin, Calumet and Hibbing brothers and sisters in faith. People also came, non-members, that I had married, counseled, etc. I had tremendous feelings of affirmation, satisfaction, and thanksgiving to God for being able to serve as a pastor for those 36+ years. To God be the glory, because He is the One who brings us all together and blesses us with life. My job through it all was to introduce people to God and then get out of the way so they could have a meaningful relationship.
I appreciate all of your comments sent various ways and read by Karen and Louisa. The biggest blessing I have received from God is the gift of my family, each one of you. You are each very special to me, in your own unique way, and I treasure you and love you very much. Now, I hope that I can arrange to see you more often in person as I enter retirement. The ministry has been a most fulfilling career for me, but it did take me away from you a lot of the time. Now, rather than serving people as pastor as the primary focus for time and energy, serving you, my family, will take top billing.
The congregation gave me a wonderful gift. Karen called me to the stage amd as the curtain was pulled back there stood an oak roll-top desk! Something I have always wanted! It was made at the turn of the century and is in excellent condition. I was shocked, stunned, and very pleased! Then. Berit rolled Louisa into the fellowship hall on the antique oak desk chair which came as a gift from family. What a satisfying gift that will be put to good use in my new career in retirement! Whatever that may be.
Along with the gift were many cards of expression from people who wrote of their gratitude for my ministry to them. Reading them was like hearing what people say at a funeral, but being alive to hear the expressions of thanksgiving for you life. It does feel good knowing that my humble efforts were useful to people.
I would hope and pray that each of you experience that same affirmation, because you each live meaningful lives of useful service, each in your own way. I am so proud of all of you. And I am grateful to God for the dedication to parenting that you gave to me Mother. You brought me into this world, loved me and cared for me, and introduced me to the source of my creation through your own witness. I could not have done this without you. Thanks!