I don't even know how to start this post. This is my third attempt to be witty and profound. But all I'm doing is struggling for words. So, instead of searching for perfection, I'm just going to be honest: I'm struggling because today, we announced one of the biggest changes our family has ever faced:
Today, my Dad announced his retirement from full-time ministry.
We knew it was coming. Gerald and I went to church and sat with Mom and Dad while the announcement was being made. Dad had written a letter, and it was beautifully read by one of the church wardens. After reading the letter, some really awesome words were said in honour of Mom and Dad, and the congregation gave them a huge and lengthy standing ovation.
He won't retire officially til next January, but he wanted the church to have lots of time to find a new rector. He knows this is a busy and vibrant church, and a smooth transition from one rector to another would be ideal.
For most people, retirement is a big party, and the next day you wake up in your house and decide how best to spend your days. I don't see it being that simple for Mom and Dad. For one thing, they have to move. Mom and Dad have lived in church-owned homes for almost 25 years. They now have to buy a house and move out of the only area they have lived in Toronto. They will also need to find a new church home. And it will be the first time in ages that they have attended a church without working in it.
It will be big for me too. I have never been a member of a church where Dad was not a member of the clergy. I've attended other churches, but never been a member of one. We have done so much ministry work together, and I'm afraid of losing those opportunities. I love all the times Dad has come to me and said, "I want to have this song in my sermon. Will you sing it?". And my answer is always a resounding, "Of course!".
I know it will also be a big change for Dad because this is not simply a job. It's his life's calling. How do you simply stop doing that? As an artist, I know I will never really "retire" from what I do. I couldn't if I tried. It's too deeply entrenched in everything I do. I sort of feel that it will be like this for Dad. I'm sure that he will still find opportunities to minister. He will probably do interim work for churches that need someone short term. He will also be able to devote time to his loves of writing and photography.
It's such a vibrant time for our family. There will be great challenges and great rewards. But we must always remember that God is in control of it all. And with Him at the wheel, how can we go wrong?