May Pastor’s Post – Rev Hawthorne’s Last

Goodbye, God Bless You, I Love you!

My final Sunday will arrive later this month…it doesn’t seem possible. As I write my final Grace
Notes article as your pastor I want to share a few thoughts.

Let me reiterate that my decision to leave Grace and all of you was an extremely difficult one for me.
It is impossible to have shared life in such an intimate and profound way for nearly twelve years and not feel
the awful pain of separation. But because of my ongoing health challenges, I truly believe that my decision
to step down at this time is in the best interest of myself and Grace Baptist.

After the service on May 20 I will no longer be your pastor. I will cease then, even though I love
you and care about you, to perform pastoral duties in your lives and I will not attend GBC events. This is
necessary in order to make a clear break during the interim between my pastorate and the next. When the
new pastor arrives, those pastoral duties, being with you in times of celebration and crises, will be an important
part of your becoming “family to each other”.

So, let me say one more time what a joy it has been to be your pastor. I have been so blessed to be
the pastor of a congregation that isn’t afraid to try new things and that is so welcoming and supportive. It
has been a privilege to pastor a church with an outward focus that truly cares about all kinds of people and
has proven it again and again through acts of outreach and service. I thank God that I’ve been blessed to
share life and ministry with some of the most loving, compassionate, generous people I’ve ever encountered.

You took a chance in calling me to be your pastor in 2006, knowing that I was facing a serious
health issue (the need for a kidney transplant). And from the day I arrived, you have stood by and supported
both Amy and me through numerous medical challenges. Your loving support, patience and faith have inspired,
challenged and enabled me to fulfill my calling here and I sincerely thank you.

Being the pastor of a church with so many amazing and gifted people has been a blessing I can’t describe.
Your spectacular artistic gifts, leadership gifts, ministry gifts, along with your willingness to use
them in our mutual ministry have made me one very blessed pastor.

I hope and pray that you have a wonderful future. I hope that under new pastoral leadership you will
continue to find new ways to connect with the neighborhood and to minister to more and more people. Finally,
I share with you the words of benediction that I have used to conclude every service I have conducted
here at Grace:

May the grace, the mercy and the peace from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
be with you today and all along your way. Amen.

With gratitude and love,
Pastor George

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