Here I go again rehashing the topic of our pastor leaving. Last week was the announcement, whereas this week was the final Sunday of his tenure. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen (actually, nah), goodbye. I understand the bittersweet feels that have been floating around, seeing as how his 3.5 yr stay with us has been the longest since our first English Congregation pastor left in 2006. And I’m not sure how well 16 year old me remembered this, or how well my situation awareness of the moment was back then, but it seems that, from my writings back then, the farewell in 2006 was a much more painful and heartfelt separation than this was one herein 2013. In 2006, you’d have people 5-10 years older than me, people who I’ve come to know and love and respect through the course of their interactions with the youth, share their joy and sadness and everything in between that they’ve experienced because of the shepherding of our then-pastor. There was something that caught my attention then, and the lack of it today (or rather, lack of emphasis) is a glaring anomaly: the departing message then was an admonition of focus (to what end, my 16 yr old self didn’t say); the final message here read like a highlight reel of things that have been accomplished in the past 3.5 years (that may or may not have been headed by this guy). As he brought things up one after another, I couldn’t help but scoff and laugh internally at the half-baked and fluffy items he was listing off that really had no substance to it other than the names and titles he kept christening everything with. I think that one small final goodbye says so much; that one in his time of leaving would seek to look ahead regarding those that he once had responsibility over, and that another would seek to look behind regarding his flock.
For some reason, I can’t find any entry that explicitly makes mention of our then-youth director also departing, but this was in 2006 as well. He’d been with us for six years, and those years were the majority of my time within the youth group. He had a beautiful long poignant entry on his blog that both highlighted the joys he’d been fortunate enough to oversee, as well provide a final thought to those that he’d be leaving behind, and I really think it had a great affect on whoever had a chance to peruse the contents of said blog in its entirety. (Apparently I did go back and look to it 4yrs after the fact, but yeah.) Disregarding my current state regarding the whole religion thing, it seems that the two highlights I pulled out of it are quite fitting for anything and everything, but even more so in times of transition. Within the church, it all belongs to God, so the trust should be in Him. At the same time, the people within these groups and ministries and fellowships are us, so ownership of these organizations lie there. “Different time. Similar circumstances. Same truth.”
No disrespect to our Senior Pastor, but he tends to be a long-winded speaker, and with English not being his native tongue, the times where he speaks tend to be a mess of a situation. As a person, he’s funny and everything, but as a speaker and authority figure, it’s something I have a bit more trouble dealing with. And so the journey to our next pastor begins. I’m curious as to how this’ll play out, seeing as how some of the groundwork laid by this guy who’s leaving has altered the identity of the English Congregation from a group which identified more as the English speaking Asian American part of the church into an English part of the church consisting of multicultural people. Which could be seen as a good thing, but the multicultural aspect of things was never acknowledged really, in the sense that he tried to strip away the Asian American from us and just bring us in as Americans. To which I say no, because we are one and both, because our cultural identity makes us who we are, and that background that we bring is what makes such a great melting pot of people. I’m afraid the leaders in charge of this next hiring have a more than difficult task at hand. I only hope they’re aware of it and up to the challenge.