Thank you so very much for all the kind words, beautiful letters, notes and messages and for all the love, encouragement and affirmation that you have given to me as I prepare to leave. It was such a joy to worship together last week Sunday, as we reflected on the year past and look forward to the year ahead. And the farewell tea afterwards, while sad, also had a happy buzz as UMC sent me on my way. Thank you. As I said at the farewell tea, I don’t quite know how to put in words how special this community is, and what a beautiful gift my season here has been, for that is what these 8 years have been to me – a gift. I know that I have been here as teacher and preacher, but I feel like I have learned so much from you.
I have learned about hospitality - you have taken me into your hearts and homes and shared life and food and stories. And in your generosity and care I found a place to belong.
I have learned about friendship - we have laughed together, and cried together, and learned together, and even sometimes got angry and frustrated together. But that's what friends do, that is why God placed us in community, so that we don't have to walk the road alone. You have taught me about sharing life with people.
I have learned about hope. I have often said that if I were to ever get a tattoo, it would be the word Hope. And in you, in your lives and your stories, as many of you have struggled through deep and profound sadness, I have seen what hope looks like.
And I have learned about God. We see God in creation, in the loveliness of a morning, the vastness of the ocean and in each other. You have shown God to me in so many ways, as you have supported my crazy trip around Mauritius and encouraged my bad surfing, as you have loved my children and watched them grow, as you have given me space to live out my calling here in this place, I have found God in you.
Thank you for the gift of the Stole, as I wear it at Kearsney, I will remember the people who sent me as well as the God who calls me.
With love, Kym