This past Sunday, June 14th my wife, Amy, my daughter, Hannah, and I worshipped at Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview. This was a big deal for us. We decided to go worship there on Sunday as we moved to our new house in Blaine the next day. We thought that the day before our physical move was an appropriate time to see the people I served for 16 years.
I’m bound by our Presbytery’s policy to honor appropriate separation ethics with my former congregation. I don’t remember all the specifics of that policy. The bottom line for me is I won’t serve a pastoral function for that congregation unless I am invited by the Session. I’m also not supposed to talk about the mission and ministry of the church with anyone from the congregation.
The intent behind our Presbytery’s separation ethics policy is good, though as with any policy the good intent can get clouded at times by its application.
I had told via E-mail the current pastor of the church two weeks prior to this past Sunday that the three of us would be attending worship on Sunday.
Being back in the sanctuary in Plainview was a moving experience. I think I gave a hug to everyone in the entire congregation. I had intended to attend the church’s fellowship time in the lower level, but I wasn’t able to get there. As I was walking downstairs after worship I would come across someone and we would talk for five minutes, then I would come across another person and we would talk for five minutes, then I would come across another person and we would talk … (you get the idea).
The people at Community Presbyterian Church are very special. I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for them. There wasn’t a day that went by for 16 years that I didn’t think about our mission and ministry. We had a wonderful ministry together. I’m keeping them in my prayers as both they and I continue our newly separate journeys.