Service for the Ending of a Pastoral Relationship and Leave-taking from a Congregation, as the rector and parish separate.
Here’s a taste of this very moving and meaningful service:
Just before the Peace, the Priest addresses the Vestry and the congregation with these or similar words-
On the day of January 6, 1998, I was installed as Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. I have, with God’s help and to the best of my abilities, exercised this trust, accepting its privileges and responsibilities.
After prayer and careful consideration, it now seems to me that I should leave this charge, and I publicly state that my tenure as rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church ends this day.
The Senior Warden of the Vestry asks,
Do you, the people of St. Mary’s recognize and accept the conclusion of this pastoral relationship?
People, We do.
Then the Priest may express thanksgiving for the time of the tenure, with its joys and sorrows, and states hopes for the future of the congregation.
The Priest may present to the Warden(s) a letter of resignation, the keys of the parish, the parish altar service book, the parish register, or other symbols fitting to the occasion.
The Priest may also express her thanks to the representatives of parish organizations and offices, and indicate that those organizations will continue to function.
The departing Priest and the congregation then say together the following prayer,
O God, you have bound us together for a time as priest and people to work for the advancement of your kingdom in this place: We give you humble and hearty thanks for the ministry which we have shared in these years now past.
We thank you for your patience with us despite our blindness and slowness of heart. We thank you for your forgiveness and mercy in the face of our many failures.
Especially we thank you for your never-failing presence with us through these years, and for the deeper knowledge of you and of each other which we have attained.
We thank you for those who have been joined to this part of Christ’s family through baptism. We thank you for opening our hearts and minds again and again to your Word, and for feeding us abundantly with the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of your Son.
Now, we pray, be with those who leave and with us who stay; and grant that all of us, by drawing ever nearer to you, may always be close to each other in the communion of your saints. All this we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
I will miss this place and these people.