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BONUS BLOG: My Opening Benediction

September 30, 2017

Because several of you asked:

Made it through my very first worship service as a pastor actually appointed to an actual congregation.

Had forgotten that the service concluded with a Benediction until the last hymn. Last verse. In fact, third line of the fourth verse.

Which was suddenly over.

Cleared my throat.

Stretched out both arms to my sides.

Okay, Benediction…let’s see, defined in simplest terms as “dismissal with blessing.”

Okay, Benediction.

Expectant silence among the people who were Haley Chapel United Methodist Church.

All those eyes. And all those smiles.

Cleared my throat again.

“Go forth.”

Need more.


Need still more.

So I added phrase after phrase until I ran out of both words and wind.

Over the years, it became my Default Benediction. I pronounced others, seasonally appropriate or event-driven, but kept going back to that one from several decades ago. It was still my original benediction that I choked through on my last Service of Divine Worship while under full time episcopal appointment this past June.

At the retirement reception following that service, the Effingham Centenary United Methodist Church people gave me this —

Let the church say Amen.


From → Uncategorized

  1. Debbie permalink

    Just teared up! Great story! Miss you!


  2. Not just teared up, related! Did I ever tell you that part of my password for WordPress includes the year I first met you pre-college, I think.


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