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Sunday, January 8, 2012


the time is nigh to reveal the secret i've been keeping for the past several months.

after 35 years in ministry, my dad is retiring.  his final service is the last sunday in february.  my mom and dad are moving to my gram's house, and my gram is in the process of moving to a retirement community.

i am happy for my father, who has has worked hard his entire life.  as a young man he worked on his family's farm while simultaneously pursuing his undergrad degree (earning it in three years) and working at the town's foundry.  for a few hours on sundays he took my mom out on dates.

my folks got married before dad went to seminary.  a year later my dad was a grad student, supplying at churches, working at an applesauce factory and a new father.  the next two years my family crisscrossed the state as dad did a practical at a mental hospital and then an internship at a congregation not far from shanksville.

dad's first call was at a small country church 90 minutes from where he grew up.  sixteen years later he accepted a call at our current church, placing us closer to our extended family.  this call lasted 19 years.  it's rare to have long calls.  over the years my dad has sacrificed vacations for funerals or weddings; spent nights in hospitals consoling grieving families and did little tasks around the church - like buying copy paper - that not many other pastors do.  the church has greatly changed over the years.  my dad is weary.  it's time for him to take care of himself.

i'm sad that he's retiring.  well, i'm obviously happy.  he's worked so hard his entire life.  he works harder than any other pastor i know (other than my FIL who is as hardworking in his retirement years).  i'm not terribly enamored of the pastors that are entering the ministry - that's a post for another day.

my mom is also resigning as organist and choir director.  she worked as hard as my dad with the ministry. i know she's relieved and looking forward to taking a break.

as for me - i'm not sure what's next for our family.  my church has a good sunday school and a children's choir.  there aren't many churches in the area that can say that.  i don't want to leave my church, but i'm not sure we should stay either.  it's going to be hard to see another pastor in my dad's pulpit.

anticipating my dad's retirement has worked on me for several months.  my gram moving to a retirement community has shaken me.  my parents will now live an hour away and visits with the kids won't be as frequent.  when i need them to watch the healthy kids while i take the sick one to the doctor, they won't be able to do so in a minute's notice.  i'll miss their house.  even though i haven't lived there in nearly 13 years, i'll miss the closets and the large back yard.  mom's selling her organ.  she got it as a teenager.  it's crazy but i'm going to miss it.  i wish i had the room in my house for it but i'll be lucky to find space for their piano, and there's no room for it at gram's.

the news is now out;  the mourning will commence.  there will be a lot of changes and adjustment this year.  and so our new normal begins.

1 comment:

  1. We will be thinking of you and the family during this time of change!


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