Leave-taking for a Minister, a Progressive Liturgy — Kate Gray, UK

This service of leave-taking was originally written for the departure of Revd Bob Day by Revd Kate Gray, Manchester UK.



Time to give thanks

There is a time to give thanks,
for the times of challenge and hardship
for the times of tiredness and distress
for the times of solidarity and justice with peace.
We give thanks
for the times of unfinished business and uncertainty
for the times of failure and disappointment
for the times of heartbreak and loss
We give thanks
for the times of joy and elation
for the times of connection and wonder
for the times of community and healing.
We give thanks…
This is a time to remember,
a time to invite Spirit,
a time to celebrate,
a time to shed tears,
a time to notice your heart,
a time to move on,
a time to let go,
a time to breathe deeply,
a time to trust,
a time to retire.

Join me in prayer.

For all that has been in these full years of ministry we say thank you.
All: Thank you God who holds us gently.
For all funerals led, people visited, lives mourned,
For all new lives welcomed, thanksgivings and baptisms celebrated,
For all new relationships blessed and marriages marked,
For new members welcomed, elders ordained, churches and communities sustained,
For all sermons and prayers written, songs and hymns chosen, liturgies crafted, connections with news and everyday life woven together,
For all communities and organisations supported, stories listened to and held with care and confidence, for kindom work unnoticed and hard to measure,
Leaving Minister: I give thanks.
People: We give thanks.
For cross words, unspoken grudges and power play, for forgetting and failures, for all that is left undone and incomplete we say sorry, let go of and set down saying thanks to God trusting in the work of others.
Leaving Minister: I ask forgiveness and I let them go.
People: We ask forgiveness and we water seeds of ministry work planted.
For all faith companions who have inspired and nurtured [name of leaving Minister] we give thanks.
For all who have been ministered to, with and alongside we say thank you to God who continues to call us in Jesus to share Good News.
All: We hear the call of Jesus to be and share Good News.

Returning the symbols of office:

Church keys:
[Name of Leaving Minister], as a symbol of your leave-taking from the role of Minister of Word and Sacraments will you now set down the keys for each of the church buildings on the communion table.
Sets down keys for all church buildings and names the current congregations.
[Name of Leaving Minister], as a symbol of your leave-taking and change in role and pace of daily life will you now set down your diary.
Sets down ministry diary.

Leave-taking blessing:

[Name of Leaving Minister] – be free to rest, relax and retire.
Continue to listen to the call of Jesus, whom we call Christ, to respond to Christs call on your life in new ways as the Spirit leads you.
People: We bless you now and always.
For the Churches – be bold soul-friendly communities of faith, healing and peace.
Continue to respond to Christ’s call to minister with love
Read the signs of the times with wisdom and courage as you are shaped by Christ for the wellbeing and shalom of the city/town/village of [location of church].
All: We are blest now and always. Amen

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