A Departing Message from Your Co-ministers

From Your Co-ministersJaco-Chalice-Drawing

A Departure Message
Revs. Barbara W. & Jaco B. ten Hove

Dear Cedars Members and Friends,

We are excited to imagine an upbeat send-off as we celebrate our retirement from full-time UU ministry at the upcoming party and Sunday morning service. We hope many of you will join us at both so we can bid a fond farewell as thoroughly as possible. What’s happening is an uncommon moment in time that we will appreciate and relish with you. (See link to party info.)

As that leave-taking becomes imminent, we want to give you a sense of our plans and some dynamics that are important to understand when ministers retire from a congregation. Even though we are delighted to have an ongoing Emeritus connection with Cedars, it is true that our relationship with you will change quite a bit after we retire.

At your mid-year Congregational Meeting on Sunday, Jan. 29 (and probably online) the Cedars Board will share with you an agreed-upon covenant of mutual understanding regarding our Emeritus status and what it will look like for us and for you. There is a piece of it, however, that we felt might be wise to share in this more personal way.

First, when we leave Cedars, even though we will be your emeritus ministers, we need to make a very real separation in order for you (and us!) to adjust to this new landscape. Some things that may be a bit hard for us to do include: removing ourselves from Cedars email lists; no longer following Cedars members on Facebook; and not responding to any kind of personal outreach to us on social media, email or phone.

We hope all of you will understand that this isn’t because we don’t care about you or Cedars. It’s just a common and important practice when UU ministers leave congregations. We ask kindly that you not take this personally but understand it’s for good reason.

That said, as Ministers Emeritus, we will find ways to continue in our connection with Cedars, but only after a real break (likely two years or so) and then with the necessary support and consultation of your new minister(s). They will work with us on the best way to craft this new Emeritus role.

We also want you to know of our evolving plans for the near future, beginning right way in February. Our Winslow cottage will be in new ownership as of the end of January while our belongings go into storage. After a couple months in Virginia (where Jaco will have his hip replaced and we can be near family for support), we will move to Bellingham and into a condo we are purchasing there.

We’re arranging two more trips to the East Coast (on each side of the summer), which will include ceremonies to relocate our parents’ ashes in meaningful settings. We’ll also be at the June UUA General Assembly in New Orleans, where we will “walk” in the big, annual Service of the Living Tradition that includes honoring the latest class of retiring ministers.

We hope to remain active in various northwest UU settings and in that capacity may see you occasionally. We will also return to Bainbridge now and again and, when we do, if we run into you in a store or on a ferry, we will be very glad for that! But, please don’t ask us to comment on anything Cedars-related. It’s the best way for all of us to make this transition go smoothly and well.

Gosh, we will miss you! But, we’ll always hold you close in our hearts. We hope you’ll do the same for us, even as we all gently let go of this significant relationship and add new ones. Change is hard but it’s also exciting. Here’s to new adventures for us all!