How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore. (Psalm 133)
Saying goodbye is always difficult. And even though my departure is my doing, it is still not easy. I hate goodbyes. I have made some very good friends since I arrived here at Belmont. And I have enjoyed doing ministry with you and my colleagues here in the Johnstown District. I will always remember with such fondness our trips to North Carolina for Operation Christmas Child. I will cherish my memory of Camp on the Go. We had so much fun; and I am so excited that Belmont is doing Camp on the Go again this summer.
Leaving will be difficult, but I am looking at my retirement as a new beginning. It has been many years since I have had real quality time with my family. I have missed out on a lot of family events or have had to cut our time together short because of the demands of ministry. And, as some of you are aware, I love to quilt; and I am looking forward to spending a lot of time seated at my sewing machine. If Covid has taught me anything, it is that life is fragile; so, I am looking forward to enjoying a less stressful life while Wayne and I are still healthy.
It will be a new beginning for Belmont as well. I know you will do all in your power to make your new pastor and his wife welcomed and will initiate them very quickly into the life of this church. I trust he will have an exciting new vision for the church and will lead you all into an exciting time of ministry and growth.
Yes, I hate goodbyes, but the wonderful thing about the hope we have in Christ is that we will have an eternity together to catch up and reminisce. So, God be with you until we meet again at the feet of Jesus.
May the grace of the Father and the love of the Son and the unity of the Holy Spirit abide upon you this day and every day unto ages and ages to come.
On the Potter’s wheel –
Pastor Jean Smith