Last year in June I had to leave the Unitarian Universalist congregation that was my church home for over 7 years. The minister of the church resigned because of budgetary issues and since I was a ministerial candidate, the head of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee told me I had to leave as well. He said it was because there couldn’t be any kind of perception that I had been antagonistic or that I was waiting in the wings to take over for the minister after he left – even though I hadn’t been doing any of those things. In fact, I was one of the biggest allies for the minister.
So I had to just disappear. I am still very sad about that. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I wasn’t able to give a goodbye sermon or even just publicly say goodbye. There was no goodbye reception, even though the congregation gave a big goodbye reception for the minister. It’s almost like I had never been there even though I gave my heart and soul to that place for seven years. I just had to disappear – there hasn’t been any closure.
I have very mixed emotions about my leaving. I loved the people there and I miss them. I suppose it is petty and selfish (I am human after all) but I must confess that I am upset that there wasn’t any kind of goodbye party or reception for me. I did so much for that church and there wasn't even a public acknowledgment of all that I had done - not even for what I had done during my year of supervised ministry. It makes me feel like all of my efforts were unappreciated, even though I know that is not true. It’s just a very sad thing and I am still grieving the loss.
But God has a funny way of working. That incident forced me to really think about where I want to be. I had been thinking about leaving Unitarian Universalism and exploring the United Church of Christ. My having to leave the UU church gave me the push I needed to explore other options. I am now involved with a wonderful United Church of Christ congregation and I have found a home with that denomination. This was a significant change since I had been a life-long Unitarian Universalist. Now I am well along the path to ordination in the United Church of Christ tradition. I have learned to embrace Christianity – I have been baptized – and I know that I am now where I was meant to be.
As the old saying goes – when one door closes another opens up.