June 30, 2024

by Clarissa Martinelli on June 30, 2024

My beloved sisters and brothers in Christ,
Eight years ago, we embarked on a grand journey, not knowing where we would end up, but trusting that God’s Holy Spirit was leading us in this new venture. You stepped out in faith, welcoming The Martinellis’ into the West Bend community. I stepped out in faith, saying “yes” to God’s call to serve the Fifth Ave. UMC flock. And we together stepped out in faith, wishing to be one congregation in Christ, worshipping and serving God’s people and making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
As I prepare to transition to my new flock, how does a Pastor go about summarizing her thoughts and hopes as she leaves a congregation she has served, and people whom she has come to know and dearly love?  And how does one truly thank people who have become much more than friends and family, truly become brothers and sisters in this faith journey, eating together at the Holy Table, singing and praying together in this sanctuary, going forth together into the world with a message of hope and promise and justice for all people because live into our Baptism vows?
A Pastor’s last Sunday in a congregation is both emotional and a tough assignment, especially when you want to make sure the worship service is not about yourself but rather points all of us to Christ and His Word one last time before you leave. I pray that our last worship service will help us to do just that.
June 30th will be an emotional day. It marks the end of one era, and the beginning of another. For me, it marks the end of my time as your humble Shepherd/Pastor. For you, Sunday will mark the end of one pastor’s time with you, and the beginning your next pastor.
As Methodist we look to our Baptism and its vivid reminder to all of us that the work of witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t end today, but that it is an ongoing task, both for me as a pastor moving on, and for you as a congregation moving forward from this day.
FAUMC, sit at the feet of Jesus. Listen. Learn. And find hope and love there. Then, with the saints who have gone before us, those who dwell among us today, and those yet to come, proclaim God’s Holy Word. And I promise to continue doing the same. This isn’t your church. This isn’t my church. This is Christ’s church. Jesus is the head of it, we are merely the stewards of it for the brief time we have in this world. The church is where Jesus desires to give you the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation through His unchanging Word and Sacraments, in the midst of a world that’s constantly changing, constantly busy, seemingly out of control. Don’t, people of God, ever take your focus off of Jesus, walking with each other as sisters and brothers, united in love, acting with justice, serving one another, always walking humbly with God.
I sincerely thank each of you for the honor and privilege that has been mine to walk with you as your Shepherd/Pastor. I love each of you dearly!
For those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are always united together in Him, and we will see each other again one day; maybe not in this world, but in the splendors of paradise where we will sit at the feet of Jesus and see with our own eyes the promises fulfilled. Amen.
With a big hug and my deepest affection,
Pastor Clarissa

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