Some Final Thoughts…Release of Vows

Some Final Thoughts…

Release of Vows

 

Dear Friends in Faith,

Sunday, July 16 will be my last worship service here at The Congregational Church of Littleton. I want to thank you all for the many ways you have allowed me to be your pastor. I will look back fondly on our time together; and I hope that you will, too.

In my fifteen years with you, I’ve watched children grow up. I’ve baptized, preformed marriages, performed too many funerals. I’ve visited hospitals and shut-ins. Together, we’ve realized a few dreams, lived through a few trials, and persevered faithfully.

While I am leaving CCOL, there is one who remains constant: Jesus Christ. God’s love in Christ has been here from the beginning and will be with you for the rest of time. If you allow God to guide you, CCOL will always have a mission. It may not look like the mission of today but it will be one that changes lives and changes the world. A passion for sharing God’s love in Christ guided earlier congregations, that passion can guide you, too.

As I wrote above, my final Sunday with you will be July 16. At that time, we will join together in releasing one another from the vows and commitments we made fifteen years ago at my installation. You will be asked, “Do you, the members and friends of The Congregational Church of Littleton release Vern Swett from the duties of pastor?” One of the questions addressed to me will be, “Do you, Vern Swett, release this local church from turning to you and depending on you?”  These vows of release remind us that our bond within the church of Jesus Christ will never change, but the nature of our relationship will indeed undergo significant change. The release of vows mean that I will no longer be performing pastoral services, leading worship services or discussing church matters. This expectation is one that all clergy in our denomination are expected to abide by. It’s important for both clergy and congregations to honor it to be able to move forward faithfully, freely and healthfully. I will honor it and I know you will, too.

I hope that you have a wonderful future. I hope that under new pastoral leadership you find new ways to connect with, reach out to, and share God’s love with people in the towns CCOL serves.  Let me close with the first and last verses of one of my favorite hymns:

Blessed be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The sharing of a common life is like to that above.

 

When we are called to part

it gives us inward pain,

But we shall still be joined in heart,

and hope to meet again.

 

All God’s blessings…