February 19 will be my last day with you, and your minister will be back with you the following week. I’ve spent a very pleasant half-year in your company. You are, as I have always thought, an active and fascinating congregation with human resources that many other congregations would love to have. I will keep track of you and will follow as best I can the development of initiatives that have been nurtured along this year.
There is an old folk song called “Peace of the River” which speaks of having the “Strength to lead and faith to follow.” I wish you that. Leadership of such a large and diverse community requires the strength that self-confidence eventually brings. I don’t think that self confidence is innate in most people but it grows in the trusting relationships that develop between a people and those they appoint to lead them. This trusting relationship requires a faith that since we can’t do everything we must learn to trust and follow those we’ve asked to lead us. They may even come up with better ideas.
May you always find the strength to lead when it is your turn and the faith to follow others when that time comes around. Good bye, and good luck, -John Nichols