It’s hard to put into words what a day Leaving Sunday was like.
It was such an emotional day. Highs and extreme highs. Joy and sorrow mixed together.
The day began with breakfast. Pancakes were baked by the men of the parish, and parishioners brought a huge variety of food-laden plates and platters.
One-hundred-fifty people attended breakfast. We were nicely stuffed in seating and sustenance.
Rev Beth and Rev Alan received “love” pancakes. Alan was a curate and then an assistant rector at St. Mary’s. He’s a favorite of mine. Now serving the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, he returned for this day.
A few gifts were presented. Each reflected a shared experience moment between parishioners and their priest, that will be remembered well beyond this time of separation.
Then we all gathered for the Leaving Service. It felt like we were all transported to a different plane. A place filled with uncommon prayer and praise. A place where these gathered souls held each other in their sorrow, in their shared love, and in their shared life now coming to a close.
A welcome to all.
Gifts that would be distributed during the service to parish ministries as a sign these would all continue.
Following the service, the people lined up for hugs, blessings, and farewells.
For myself, I was sought out by SO many with whom I have loved and been loved. We all pray our paths may cross again.
This morning brings my departure for home. It’s a beautiful day to fly.