Blessing for a Pastor’s Departure

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven.
There’s a time to arrive, and a time to go.
A time to work, and a time to rest.
A time to be called, and a time to say good-bye.
There is a time for pastoral ministry:
a time to visit the sick and grieving,
a time to lead worship and preach sermons,
a time to officiate at funerals and weddings,
a time to gather people together in meetings,
a time to lead and shepherd in all circumstances,
in the hurly-burly of congregational life.
And there is a time to let this all go,
and to give these roles to a new leader.
This is the moment, this is the transition,
the poised point when _________ moves
from being the pastor here, to not being the pastor.
It’s a time to say thank you!
Thank you ________, for your guiding presence in our community.
Thank you for the way you have cared for us in every season,
even when sometimes we have been hard to love.
Thank you for your diligence in studying scripture
and discerning God’s word for us in this time and place. 
Thank you for leading our pastoral team and encouraging them.
Thank you for your commitment to fairness and inclusiveness.
Thank you for your wisdom and for being a role model for us.
Thank you for your careful attention
to the background details that helped hold us together.
We give thanks too for your supportive family ________
who sacrificed a lot for our community. 
We are so thankful for your years of service
and that God called you to be our pastor!
And as we say good-bye after this ministry well-done,
it is a time to bless you on your way.
May you find time for rest and relaxation after all this work!
May you find time to reflect on what this ministry has meant in your life.
May you find new opportunities for living out your faith
that use your gifts and give you joy.
God has blessed your coming here,
God is blessing this good-bye
and God will bless you as you go from here.
Go in peace with the love and gratefulness
of our whole congregation. Amen.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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