Zion Episcopal Church 301 East Congress St. Charles Town, WV. 25414

Bid You Farewell

Dear Friends,
In order for me to bid you farewell as Rector of Zion, I need to begin by saying “Thank you” rather
than “Goodbye”. In an era in which clergy generally serve their congregations for a shorter tenure than
many NFL coaches; when the average length of stay is five to seven years in a congregation, and where
many people feel that clergy have overstayed their welcome when they reach ten years, I have had the
privilege of serving you for fourteen wonderful years.
What this means is that I have had the blessing of watching many of your children grow up and have
had the honor of assisting at baptisms, weddings and funerals for members of your families. You, in turn,
have also been an integral part of lives of Phil, Hannah and myself. You’ve seen our daughter grow up,
have been supportive to us as we have grieved the loss of my father and Phil’s parents, have laughed with
us over many foibles in parish life and have been kind enough to share your lives with ours. To phrase it
simply and profoundly. It has been a joy to share these years with you. In truth, I suspect I have learned
more about what it means to follow Christ by watching you than by what I have striven to teach.
Living together in Christian faith and life is an exercise in faith, forgiveness and trust. I thank you
for allowing me to be a part of your faith journey. Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts and concerns
as well as your joys and triumphs. Thank you for forgiving me for those errors I have made.
As I prepare to leave I realize how proud I am of you, the people of Zion. You are a kind and
gracious community of faith with a deep commitment to Christ as well as a belief that faith should be lived
out in the larger community as well as through private devotion. As I place books in boxes and prepare for
the movers to arrive I realize that I am absolutely confident in your future. You are in the best hands of
all….God’s. You are a community blessed with strong leaders. You are people of passionate faith and the
ability to discern Christ’s will for your lives. You are more than capable of following the will of God—and
in doing this, all indeed will be well.
I am absolutely terrible at saying Goodbye, and so I will allow Stephen Schwartz to do it for me in
these words from a song he authored. It well may be, that we will never meet again, in this lifetime.
So let me say before we part, so much of me, is made of what I learned from you. You’ll be with me,
like a handprint on my heart. ♥ And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have re-written mine,
by being my friend… Thank you for these years of serving you in the joy of Christ. Thank you for the gift of sharing both
your faith, as well as your friendship with myself and my family these many years.

With love,
Our new address is:
73 Court Street
Dedham, MA 02026

Zion Church
About the Author
Whether you are new to the Christian faith, seeking a church home, or just visiting Charles Town, we hope you all gather with us this Sunday and join in the celebration.
  1. Earlene Harp

    Julia you will like her message