Saturday, 21 April 2012

To the people of St. Augustine's,

          In many ways this feels like leaving home all over again. I felt just as wordless then as I do now. I'm not a fan of goodbyes. I don't like crying in front of people. I don't mind tears, but I don't like losing my voice and I really don't like that thing my lip does when it curls up and gets all quivery. If it was someone else I would say, "If God didn't give us tears for now then what did he give them to us for?"  It's harder to be on the receiving end of those words.

          I guess I mostly don't like goodbyes because I don't like thinking about not having people I care about within arms reach. I don't like thinking about not being able to poke my head around the corner of my office to tease Denise. I don't like not being able to walk out the back door of the office after a parish council meeting late at night and have James show me the stars and planets, or to discuss a point of pastoral craft. I don't like not being able to joke with Len. I don't like not being able to vision with Cathy about the church and culture, or Jim Long poking his head around the corner to say something to make me laugh. I don't like thinking about not making supper for the youth and laughing in the kitchen with those who come early. I don't like thinking about Alan not giving me another Psalm lesson, or not playing games with Eliza and the middle school gang. I don't like thinking about not climbing into the pulpit to exercise the privilege of preaching the Gospel to people I love. I don't like thinking about not saying the words, "the Body of Christ given for you" in this building and placing the sacrament into familiar hands. I will miss you all so much!        

          I think one of the best descriptions of the church is "God's family". It feels like I'm leaving home all over again. Thank you for taking me in and loving me when I sat in the back pew in September of 2003. You have treated Crystal and I like family. You gave us all kinds of love and support when we went to Toronto. Thank you for welcoming me back as your priest and for teaching me to be one. You have never ceased to care for us and support us with kind words and your felt love. You have been so easy to love back. You have showed us the living, breathing, singing, laughing, body of Christ!

          I know that this is not the end of our relationship, but it is a change. The Family of God will eternally grow closer together and draw more into their fold. So I want to console myself with that eternal hope.

          God's peace and blessing be with you all!

Your Brother in Christ,

                                                                                                                                                                   Chris Roth     

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