These past few weeks, I’ve been preparing to say goodbye, as I’ll be presiding at my last Sunday service as the Rector of St. Mary’s Anglican Church on Jan. 14 at 10:30 a.m. (please do join us for that bittersweet day!)
Saying goodbye is one of the most challenging things to do as a priest, especially when you’ve grown to love a community. I arrived on the doorstep of Virden on Jan. 14, 2017, to a town that I knew very little about, and yet, at the end of those seven years, I feel like I’m very much part of the community.
However, as the book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “to everything, there is a season,” and over time, I realized that my season as the Anglican priest in Virden was ending. “All good things must come to an end,” as the old saying goes.
It has been a good thing for me to be here. As I leave this place to continue my ordained ministry, this time in B.C., I carry the lessons learned from each of you. Your resilience in the face of challenges and boundless love for one another have inspired and strengthened me. The love and support of this community as I ministered here has been incredible, and I will be eternally grateful for all of it.
While saying goodbye is never easy, I am comforted by Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." While our paths may diverge, I know that God will continue to work in this community, as He has done since time immemorial.
I extend my heartfelt thanks to each of you for your warmth, kindness, and the countless ways you have enriched my life. Take care of yourselves and may God's grace and peace be with you always.
- Rev'd Fr. Matt Koovisk