Sunday, January 6th was a significant day for our congregation as we said goodbye to our senior pastor, Paul Larsen, and his wife, Esther, as they began their retirement. They will be greatly missed. If you joined us for worship and for the luncheon, you know how special the day was for the Larsens and for all of us.
During the program following the meal, the staff presented a poem as a token of our thanks and appreciation. The words are below for your enjoyment. I wrote it on New Year’s Day, fitting I think as we look to the weeks and months ahead, prepare for our interim pastor, Chris Hagen, and the call committee begins its work in the call for our next senior pastor.
'Twas the Night Pastor Paul Retired
'Twas the Night Pastor Paul Retired when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even Charlie the Church Mouse.
Paul’s collar was lying on the nightstand with care,
And Esther was happy and hoped it stayed there.
CtK members were snug tucked in their beds
while staff’s thoughts of the interim stuck in their heads.
And Dawn with her necklace and Candi in a cap,
were racking their brains on how they’d adapt
When out in the office there arose such a clatter,
Pastor Hannah sprang from her office to see what was the matter.
Away to the front desk Sheryl flew like a flash
where Eunice and Jean were still counting church cash.
Steve and Deb back from skiing with teens in the snow,
Pastor Deb looking at places the seniors could go.
When what to their wondering eyes should appear?
But Bruce with some music to start the New Year.
Carrie as usual was creative and quick.
Tony and Tom cleaning; Paul and Dale making things slick.
Pastor Veryle was visiting, and Carol at her keys,
Omar in the sound booth, Allison on bells, if you please.
Melodee and Lynne were working on things,
Steve and Rusty in the kitchen tying apron strings.
Parish nurses on hand in case they were needed,
Ethan and stewards planning visitors to be greeted.
All knew that together they must carry on,
But how could they do it with Pastor Paul gone?
Then they heard a loud voice, they knew it was God,
He said, “Do not worry,” to the CtK squad.
“Paul’s leadership and vision will help you along,
You need to trust and to keep this church strong.”
“Paul deserves to retire and get needed rest,
Plus warm climate travel and golfing to best.
Trey is growing fast and changing every day,
He wishes his grandparents to join him in play.”
Even though they leaves us, the Larsens we’ll cherish,
Our love and respect will not ever perish.
Paul’s sermons and stories we will never forget,
But letting him leave still gives us regret.
Paul baptized and confirmed, buried and wed,
Following an ordination promise he long ago said.
In thirty-nine years he served many people,
Both in the world and buildings with steeple.
O God we give you thanks now for Esther and Paul,
Raising our forks like Paul taught us, one and all!
Our years here together some how feel short,
We had the best pastor we all can report.
So Paul we wish you and Esther our very best,
Our congregation is grateful and certainly blessed.
God speed to you now with our love we must send,
Remembering the best is yet to come, dear pastor, dear friend.
May God bless Pastor Paul and Esther and our entire Christ the King community as we remember our past and embrace the future.