It's time.

We've had a year to prepare, and it can't be delayed any longer. We need to say goodbye. As of March 1, Father Myers will no longer be the Rector of Church of the Holy Comforter. 

One of the most vivid memories as a parent is when your children decide to move out of your house. You hesitantly agree, but fear they have no idea what it's like out there in the big, bad world. You help them pack their most precious belongings, load them up with supplies, buy them basic groceries (they'll have the same box of salt for most of their adult life), then shed a few tears (of joy? of sadness?) as they walk out the door. You've done your best and now it's time to let them go. But you know - and they know - that even as they claim independence, you will always be there if they need you.

That's how I am dealing with Father Myers' retirement. My problem is I'deciding who is the parent and who is the child.

As we look back at Father Myers' 25 year tenure as rector, we reminisce about the impact he has made on our lives. Happy events and sad events. He has married happy couples and buried many of his good friends. He has welcomed third generations of families and written college application letters for those same children. He has provided countless hours of counseling and guidance to countless numbers of people. He has led his parish strongly and passionately, helping us deal with the big, bad world. He has been in our homes and in our hearts for many years - but now it's time for him to let us go.

For the past 25 years, the parish has been Father Myers' support system. I have only been here for ten of those years, but in that short time I have shared both happy and sad events. As other parishes became divided following the 2003 Primate's meeting, we respectfully listened to one another and rallied around our rector. We shared his joy and financial burden when Andrew was accepted as a resident at Misericordia. We humorously nursed his broken finger back to health. Sadly, we cared for Bonnie during her illness and helped her family deal with her untimely death. With Mark beginning his own career and Andrew well-cared for, with our parish family strong and financially stable, with a solid commitment to one another and to our local and global community, his work is done here  . . . and now it's time for us to let him go.

And like our children venturing out on their own, Father Myers will need time - to set up his new home, to discover his new neighborhood, to deal with Comcast, to figure out his commute to work (okay, it may not be a long comute, but it certainly is longer than the twenty steps he is used to), and to understand what his life will be like after Holy Comforter.  Hopefully, we will all give him the time and space he needs to figure it all out. 

Although Father Myers is claiming his independence, we know - and he knows - we will always be here if he needs us. Because, after all, we are family.