As anticipated, I concluded my service to our congregation on June 30th. I had one more commitment — leading worship for Third Avenue U.C. on July First — Canada Day — and that went well, too. Our minister, B, started working part-time in July, and will be back full time in September. (Before I left, I arranged things in such a way that he would not even have to work full-time in August, as well.) I am glad I had the opportunity to serve our congregation (and our neighbouring congregation as part of the "package"). I found that I was much more relaxed in my work, and that things came together for me in very different ways from how I had experienced them in the past. The ideas were a bit sharper, and were n to as hard to put together. I also felt more natural, just getting up and talking to people. But then, for the first time, I was not taking a full text into the pulpit, as I had in the past. That felt very affirming, that I could trust my mind. I also felt I had a much better grasp on things which were happening in the congregation. Not necessary happy things. But things which were important. Would I do it again? Probably. If I were needed. But to tell you the truth, I like being retired. I realize that I am not as young as I used to be, and I like a more relaxed approach to life. Particularly when I can give more time to my reading and writing, and hobbies, and family.
Despite all the craziness in church, I have gone back to serving a congregation. And coming out of retirement to do it. This is only for a while, since our minister is on medical leave, and will (I hope) be back by September. There is a very real difference between sitting in a pew and being "up front." The building hasn't changed. The people around me are the same, since this is the congregation with which I regularly worship. But the viewpoint is different. And the expectations are different. People expect, reasonably, that I will have creative thoughts to share with them about how we behave as Christians in the 21st century. And I keep working these things out, myself. And sharing what I can. I must admit that, while this has been challenging, it has also been exciting. I feel that I have finally come to the maturity I had hoped to reach as a minister. I have been working on this for a long time. I was getting close to this just before I ran into health problems. Now, I'm healthier, and happier. And the pieces are coming together. I'll write more about this in coming weeks. Overall, this has been a good experience. While I am sad that our minster is unwell, at least I have been able to help with some things that I can do. This is, after all, how a church works; people share various skills, and those complement each other. In July, the church closes, and we worship with a neighbouring congregation. So I will be on holidays. In August, we open again, and carry on. I expect things will be good.