Farewell message to Sharon, Dec. 27, 2020:
Hello. My name is Carol. Back in the spring of 2016, I was happy to stand before the congregation of Dunsford United Church as the Chair of the Search Committee, to recommend a call to Rev. Dr. Sharon Ballantyne to fill our Pastoral Charge vacancy. By some strange quirk of circumstances, I am now the chair of the Mission Board and have the task of sending a goodbye message to Rev. Sharon as she moves on in her journey of spiritual leadership. Instead of doing this in person in our sanctuary or church hall, as we all would have preferred, I am making a video recording while our province is in lockdown during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sharon, I want to offer heartfelt thanks on behalf of all of us for your constant support of our community of faith through all of our joys and challenges these past four and a half years. You served us as a loving and caring spiritual leader and taught us much about inclusivity, equality and acceptance. We became an Affirming church with your guidance and encouragement and that is a legacy that will live on in our history. You also made successful efforts to reach out into our wider community, connecting with the local school, the library, our food bank users and volunteers and the children of the area. You never ceased to amaze us with your energy and ideas, and you consistently gave 110%. You taught not just by speaking but by doing and were never reluctant to pitch in with preparing meals, drying dishes, packing cookies, acting as greeter and participating in many other ways as part of our congregation’s activities. When the pandemic had us all isolating at home, you quickly produced a daily spiritual message that many were so grateful to receive. And not to be left out of any opportunity to connect, you opened a zoom account so that we could continue meeting and a YouTube account which you used to record videos for worship and story time.
And along with Sharon, we were blessed with Cliff, who brought that distinctive bass voice to add to our choir and the occasional sound of a trumpet expanding our instrumental offerings. The quiet, constant presence always ready to spring into action for a tangled pup or a boiling pot of pasta. We will miss you both.
And so, we will all move on. You to the good people of Grace United and we to…who knows? We will do some reflection and will journey with the guidance of others and prayers of all, and see where we are led. We wish you well with your new adventure and to the community of faith known as Grace United Church I offer this advice – “Fasten your seatbelts folks, here comes Sharon!”.
Goodbye, take care, and God bless.
Chair of Mission Board