A Farewell Tribute

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A Farewell Tribute to Rev. Roger Scott Powers
July 10, 2016

13606968_797096747093035_6197597277267517102_nRoger – Twelve years ago, this congregation called you. We knew in our heart of hearts that you had the gifts to lead us forward. And in your heart of hearts, you discerned a call to be our pastor. We both felt the desire to be partners. And now, for similar reasons, you have been called to another church, and we are dissolving our very happy and fruitful partnership.

For 12 years, you have been our spiritual leader and guide. You have delivered beautifully crafted, thought-provoking, and often moving sermons from that pulpit. Our core values are also your core values. You have listened carefully and creatively when we have had concerns. To our delight, you have shared your musical ability, singing every week in the choir, playing both the saxophone and the piano, and occasionally even breaking out into song during a sermon. You have organized retreats that have refreshed and rejuvenated our spirits. You have been attentive to the thousand little administrative details that keep this place running. Your communications with us have been clear and sensitive. Your ministry among us has been complete even though your hours were only part-time.

13614955_797096780426365_7253800505779366938_nI know how genuinely modest and self-effacing you are, how you shy away from too much attention and praise, so in addition to proclaiming all that you have done for us, let me also mention a few things that you have not done for us!

You have not held our hand when we didn’t need it. You have not created in us an unhealthy dependency on you. You have not made decisions for us when it was appropriate for us to make them ourselves. No one could ever accuse you of being a control freak! You have not stepped in to resolve minor differences of opinion or even significant differences in theology. We are grateful for the things you have not done for us! You have been like a wise and even-handed parent. So we are ready for this transition because you have prepared us very well.

Last Sunday you shared your greatest fear: that when you leave, some of us will also decide to leave; that if our connection to Light Street is based more on our relationship to you than to God or to each other, then you have done us a disservice. You worry that if our focus is more on you rather than on God, then you have not your job. Let me assure you: you have done your job very well. You have always been consistent in pointing our focus toward God, not toward yourself. We get it. Don’t worry. We’re ready.

We have not said our final goodbyes, but I think that already we are standing confidently at the threshold of our parting. We are not clinging to our happy and fruitful 12-year partnership. We are celebrating our partnership even as we both look toward our respective futures and find ourselves taking our first small steps into them.

What is there left to say to you, Roger Powers, except THANK YOU and Godspeed to you and Susan.

— Julie Helms

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