I would like to thank Bruce Morrison and all who organized, participated, donated, and represented our congregation to our local Guildwood community through the pancake breakfast. Many of you expressed the joy of serving and interacting with people from our local community, although some had mentioned that they would not go near pancakes for a while.
Unfortunately, I could not be at the pancake breakfast on Guildwood Day. It was not because I slept in that day. I had to officiate a graveside memorial and burial service for an elder from my previous congregation. Sometime in April, I received a call from the elder’s husband asking if I could help bury his wife on June 4 (actually, I received two requests: one fell on Guildwood Day, and the other was whenever I was available). I asked for a few days to consider the request and discuss it with their interim moderator and my Session. I needed time because I could not simply say yes or no.
I struggled with the request. The elder and her husband became good friends over the past 15 years. I could not help but remember how they supported my family and me over those years. I felt I owed it to them. At the same time, I also wanted to be at the breakfast interacting with the community members. I felt responsible for serving my congregation today in Guildwood and creating a safe boundary with my previous congregations for their next minister and myself. But the fact they were without their minister, and the fact I journeyed with her when she was dying intensified my inner struggles. My mind, emotion, and heart were not on the same page.
I had a lengthy, frank conversation with the interim moderator about my struggles with the request. My conversation continued with Bruce, our Clerk of Session. Both showed their support and blessings in whatever I needed to do that day.
I needed time to pause, pray and process my struggles. When I sat down and closed my eyes to pray, I saw the smiling face of the deceased elder. I felt the Spirit was showing me where I needed to be on that Saturday.
I learned a few things from this experience. First, saying goodbye is a long, chaotic, and untidy process. I wonder if I expected it to be simple, easy, and quick. My mind, emotion, and soul need time to process it. Second, people are far more supportive and understanding of my struggles. Third, God will guide each step we need to take each day. Even if I take a wrong step, I just need to take two steps back and start again with Jesus Christ.
I would like to thank Bruce, our faithful elders, and our loving church family for their prayers, patience, support, and understanding of me and my struggles during this transition year.
—Rev. Chuck Moon
A version of this message first appeared in the Friday, June 10, 2022, edition of Tidbits.