With Gratitude by Liz Lang

On an early evening in November, Joan Dennehy’s Pastor Relations Committee members Marsha Wilson, Cheryl Brush, and myself, along with church members Lexi Williams, Brent Long and Jo Gustafson, held a confidential exit interview with the pastor, reviewing our life together over the years. We named things she did remarkably well and the gifts she has given us that we will carry through our transitions ahead. Joan shared her thoughts based on three questions we had asked her ahead of time: “What gave you life?” “What took life away?” and “What are the strengths and challenges of our congregation?”

She reminded us that our work ahead is not about us; it’s about what God can do through us. She reminded us to take care of each other and that we exist in the abundance of God to bring good news to the world. She reminded us to trust in God’s surprises and that we are not responsible for all that happens. It was with deep gratitude for each other that we shared this conversation, one step in the ending of a long pastor-congregation relationship.