This morning was the first Sunday I've led worship here in Tiny Village since the letter went out announcing my resignation. It was freeing to be able to address what is happening directly. I focused on the new thing God is going to be doing in and through us in the weeks and months ahead. The congregation liked it. As I anticipated, a number of the older members are distressed to see me leave. I have grown close to them through time spent walking with them through difficult situations. I've buried spouses, done hospital visits, offered support and reassurance. They are sorry to see me leaving, and I will miss them. I'm sure many of them are wondering who will do their funerals when the time comes.
I kept telling them that in the long run, this will be good for the church, but this morning there weren't very many people buying that line. Daughter left the church as I was talking about the changes ahead. I had an usher ask someone to go check on her. She came back, but was weepy. This is the place where she has grown up, so it's natural that the thought of leaving is hard on her. The members were recognizing that today, and a number of them took time to speak to her. They have watched her grow up.
I have explained my departure as a way to provide her with more resources and opportunities. They understood that. One woman made a comment that surprised me. She said not many people would move for the sake of their children. I was surprised, for me, that is part of being a parent. I make many decisions on the basis of what is best for Daughter. Daughter perked up and was telling the farmers that at least she wouldn't have to worry about the smell of manure any more. They told her that may be true, but she'd be hearing lots of sirens. They also informed her that the smell of manure was what provided her with the meat she likes so much. There was a shooting less than a mile from our new home yesterday. It looked like a domestic situation-- an attempted murder-suicide. The suicide was successful, but the shooting victim is alive and in the hospital.
I had one woman tell me that she wouldn't let me leave until we've sung one song she's requested in worship. I think we'll sing it on September 26th. It will fit well with my plans for that day, and it will make her very happy. There weren't many people in worship this morning-- so there are going to be several more weeks of talking to people for the first time since they've heard. It will be hard. The county fair begins this week, and next Sunday is the Big Event. I'll be dealing with the extended family that I only see once or twice a year. It will be an emotional weekend, I'm sure.