Yes, this is my final newsletter column as your Consulting Minister and, no, I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye! And while you will truly always be in my heart, it is not true that “there are no goodbyes for us”. I believe it is important to acknowledge loss and leaving. Saying goodbye is an important part of life as it closes one chapter of a story and turns the page to the beginning of a something new. We may not know what that new story will be like or what treasures it may reveal, but we know there is something new ready to begin.
Some of you have asked me where I’m going and what I’ll be doing next. I’m staying in Southbury with my husband, Phil, for as long as I can! And I’m not really sure what my new story will look like other than providing some pulpit supply to UU congregations and being available for my family as their needs increase. No doubt other interesting ventures are on the horizon and I know I must say goodbye in order to make room for new beginnings. You too must say goodbye in order to make room for new leadership, new ideas, new adventures in congregational life. I feel particularly grateful to be living these words by A.A. Milne: How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. My approach to endings and leaving is to focus on gratitude and forgiveness as I’ve found it opens the heart and readies the spirit for whatever comes next.
I am filled with gratitude for the two years we have worked together to serve the mission of our beloved community. Grateful for the lay leaders and staff, opportunities to laugh and cry with you, to navigate our gatherings around difficult pandemic dynamics, to celebrate 200 years of UUism in Danbury, to plan and dream, to disagree and still respect and love one another, to recognize that all we do together is ministry. Let’s forgive ourselves and each other for sometimes not listening fully, perhaps not always putting forth our best selves, for not being present in the moment, and forgetting to express just how much we value each other. As the song goes, though we’ve broken our vows a thousand times, come, yet again, come! Being in beloved community for me means we welcome each other, we learn from our differences, we grow from our commitment, we forgive and we are grateful. I hope you have experienced some of this in the time we have been together. I hope you will take the opportunity to say goodbye even if it’s difficult. And while I’m feeling quite like Charlies Schultz’s Charlie Brown, who said Goodbye always makes my throat hurt, I will say goodbye and promise to carry you in my heart.
With a heart heavy with gratitude,
Rev. Kathleen’s schedule
Rev. Kathleen’s last Sunday with the congregation will be June 11, but she will be working through the end of June, and will be available by appointment. July will be spent on study leave and vacation, which means packing up her office and tying up loose ends. If you’d like to help with packing please let her know. There may be chocolate involved!