On 25th May 2019 in the Riverina town of Narrandera there was a gathering of people at the Narrandera Uniting Church. I believe there were several committee meetings and much business discussed.
However, this article is about a service that took place in the middle of the day. This service was open to all and over 80 people attended from many parts of the Riverina Presbytery with a few even travelling from Sydney for the service.
The 80 plus people had gathered to attend the Conclusion of Placement of Rev. Carolyn and Pastor Dr Andrew Thornley after being our Intentional Interim Ministry for about two and a half years. Their task was to get to know the Presbytery and help identify and map out a future path for the Riverina Presbytery.
For a geographic map of the presbytery see our web site and the “Find a Church Map” (Make a link). They visited every church in the Presbytery and then many return trips.
They have helped us put in place a plan for the future and made great headway in getting this plan up and running. No the work is not complete, that was never the idea.
The worship leader was Chairperson Sheila Ayliffe.
An extract from the Service Sheet follows:
Presbytery Chair Ms Sheila Ayliffe
“On behalf of the Presbytery we thank you for your ministry of God’s grace in the Regional churches, for the Courses that you have facilitated, for the many Events that you have organised, for the time you spent with many Church Councils to enable Regional Ministry, for the way in which you have held God as trinity at the centre of everything you have done, for your oversight and the giving of yourselves totally to wanting the best for the Presbytery.
May God be with you into the future accompanying you on your future journeys of life.
Rev. Carolyn Thornley
On behalf of Andrew and I we want to thank you all for the love, kindness, and support shown to us these last two and a half years.
We are grateful for the ways our leadership has been accepted.
As we leave, we carry with us all that we have learned here, and are especially grateful for your friendship and care, which we will always cherish.
The bible tells us that endings are also new beginnings. Therefore, let us go forward serving God in our respective places, for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.
Go now, as faithful servants into your retirement.
As you have been a blessing to us, go to be a blessing to others.
As you have been a blessing to us, so also may you be a blessing to others.
May you continue to live a vital faith and offer God’s generous hospitality.
Give and receive comfort as you serve the world through the Regions.
May God, the Son, be ever with you and guide you.
May God, the Holy Spirit, be with you.
May God, the Holy Spirit, equip you with everything good to do God’s will.
May you always know God’s peace.
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
in the name of Christ.
Following this service Andrew and Carolyn welcomed each person to the dining area as the proceedings broke for lunch and a time of sharing and networking prior to the business meetings re-convening and those not involved going out into the presbytery region and on to their respective homes.
And finally the cutting of the cake.