Retirement Ceremony

My dad got this AWESOME sign!
The front row of the old folks!
Bishop Hopkins addressing the conference
Tom and I being greeted by the Bishop and his wife
Recognition of the conference
Julie Eshelman, a member of my church and the Bishop’s Administrative Assistant
My friend Ron, up from TN
Mom with the chocolate fountain and some goodies to dip

Last night was the official church retirement ceremony.  At the ceremony, I got a certificate signed by the Bishop that says I am a clergy member in good standing, retired.  I guess it’s official, even though I still have 13 days to go and a lot of things to finish when I get home from Conference.  We stood up on stage – all of us who were retiring and most of our spouses – and they showed pictures, talked about our ministries, and gave us the certificates.  I wonder if I looked as old to the others as some of them looked to me!

The ceremony was nice, but the party afterward was even better.  My mom and dad own a cottage at Lakeside and they hosted an open house for me after the ceremony.  About 40 people stopped by at one time or another – people from all phases of my ministry!  Those who have known me since high school.  MY pastor, Ken Chalker, who was the one who suggested I consider that God was calling me into ministry.  Members of my current church.  Friends I’ve met along the way as we have served in ministry together.  My brother, Steve, came up from Columbus!

There was good food, including a small chocolate fountain and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  We had cold pop and the air-conditioning kept the cottage nice and cool.  Some friends helped get things read (thanks Pam, Steve, and Karen).  People came at different times, so there wasn’t a crowd of people at any one moment.

I really enjoyed having time to talk to people, at least for a little while.  Annual Conference at Lakeside is like a big reunion, where you see people only once a year, so you get to do the annual catching up.  Once you are retired attendance at Annual Conference is not required.  But as long as Mom and Dad have their cottage I will probably come back for it.  I love the time with them here, and I enjoy catching up with people I may not want to see every day, but would miss never seeing again.