Thank you. That's the easiest way to summarize the last five years that we have journeyed together in ministry. Thank you. Journeys are never easy to see or watch come to a conclusion, yet here we are. As I said my first Sunday back in July 2016, every appointment is like a book. There is a different chapter and in just a few weeks it will be time to close this chapter. The good news is that the story and book of The UMC at Milltown will continue.
I wanted to thank you for being on the journey of my Ordination. I came here five years ago as someone who had just (literally weeks before) been Commissioned as a Provisional Elder. This was a brand new step for this church, to trust the leadership of someone who isn't an Ordained Elder. You put your trust in a 28 year old individual and God truly blessed our time here.
Thank you for being the church that welcomed our two kids, Jackson and Raelynn (who you will be able to meet the final weekend). You might not realized this, but the parsonage here at Milltown is the home that Beth and I have lived in the longest in our 11 years of marriage. Milltown has been the place that we have lived the longest as a married couple and we have fallen in love with this town. As I told Pastor Dale, Jamie, and the girls this is the greatest town to raise a family.
Thank you for being a church that was willing to learn, grow, and morph into a church outside the walls. While we didn't forget about our folks inside the walls, we came to realize the importance of being in ministry for and with those located outside the walls. When we moved from being the "parking lot church" to the "church that cares" our ministry began to really take off. We visioned together, and you moved with me to this new place.
Thank you for being a church that is so willing to serve. I appreciate the countless hours many of you have put in through my five years and even before I got here. You, the laity, are the pillars of the church. You are the constant that hold the church together. I said from the time that I got here that you were here before I got here, and likely would be here after I was gone. This is true, and helps keep those of us in leadership to have a level head. It's also a reminder about the passion that you as laity have for the church, something that I and other pastors would do well to remember. Thank you for your love language of service.
Lastly, thank you for your outpouring of encouragement over the last month. It has been remarkable, and frankly emotionally overwhelming to realize the impact we have had on each other's lives the last five years. Thank you for being here every step of the way and being especially encouraging these last few months.