Following is a written copy of Rev. Mary’s sermon contained in the video:
FAREWELL SERVICE for Rev. Mary Fletcher
Sunday June 28, 2020
Scripture: John 4: 4–30, 39-42
Sermon: A Rendezvous With Jesus!
The scripture reading in John of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well is my favourite scripture passage. I imagine that I am that woman, coming along that path, I sit down at the well, and I have a conversation with Jesus. How I would love that! The things I would want to talk about. And ask him. And have him explain.
This story speaks about a rendezvous. I believe that Jesus planned this encounter. It wasn’t by chance. He knows when to meet this woman, the time, she will come alone, and he will have a private, personal heart-to-heart chat with her. Jesus reveals who he is. He is the Messiah, the Anointed One from God. How incredible that news must have been to her!
And she believes. She leaves her water jar at the well and rushes back into town to tell her people. He’s here! The Messiah! Come and meet him! And the townspeople do. They invite Jesus to stay with them, he does, and their encounter ends with the scripture verse: “They said to the woman: ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.’”
I have always loved this story on a personal note, because I recognized Jesus as my Messiah a very long time ago, and as I’ve said, I would love to be that woman in the story. Today, I’m also relating this encounter to us. I imagine Jesus meeting me, and telling me to relay his messages to you. When I came to you, Parkview United Church, I felt strongly drawn by the Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted me to come here as your minister. He wanted me to proclaim his gospel and preach his messages. Now, doesn’t this seem like the Samaritan woman who hears Jesus’ message and rushes into town to tell the people all about him? I am the Samaritan minister lady and you are the townspeople. I call you to come and hear for yourselves. He’s here! The Messiah! Come and meet him! And you do. You come to the well, to church, and you hear the words of Jesus. The presence of Jesus stays with you. And you come to believe in him, too. And like the townspeople, you can say: “They said to minister Mary: ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.’”
Parkview United Church, if you’ve come to know Jesus as your friend, your life-long companion, your Saviour and guide, if Jesus is real to you, and you recognize him as the Anointed One of God, your Messiah, then I have done my job. And maybe Jesus has another errand or calling for me to do now. And you. Because we believers continue to call others to the well, to hear the messages of Jesus, and invite his presence to stay awhile with them.
May it be so. Amen.
And following is a written copy of Rev. Mary’s Words of Appreciation contained in the video:
FAREWELL SERVICE – JUNE 28, 2020
WORDS OF APPRECIATION – From Rev. Mary Fletcher
Parkview United Church, as your minister, I would like to share my words of appreciation with you at this time. First, to the Board, Session, Christian Education Committee and the Sunday School, thank you for your very kind words. I’d also like to thank others participating in my farewell service today – Organist & Music Director Jim Jordan, Rev. Bob McMullen reading scripture, Rev. Nancy Wetselaar offering a Prayer of Thanksgiving, Praise Band members Teresa Coulthard and Sherrie Roulston, Paul Strathdee for filming everyone in Parkview’s sanctuary, including myself, and thanks to my son David Fletcher who has edited and put this final video together for my farewell service today, June 28, 2020.
I’d like to thank all Parkview’s Committees and those I’ve worked with over these past years. The Sunday School presented me with a lovely book, created by Amy Halls, called “Memories of Parkview United Church Youth.” It is filled with photos and pictures of all our Sunday School kids, their activities, events, games, fundraisers, dinners and presentations over these years I’ve been with them. Thank you so much for this beautiful book! I’m going to miss the Sunday children very much! Thank you, Sunday School teachers, parents and all the kids!
I thank all the Board members, Co-Chairs Neil and Teresa, and former Chair Andrew Wybrow. Thank you for your support and your leadership. I thank the Session, and Chair Brian Lupton, with whom I worked closely to plan Parkview’s worship services. I thank Jim Jordan for his musical expertise and talents helping to plan worship and directing the choir – which I will miss! Thank you, choir! Thank you, Praise Band, all members, for sharing your musical talents in worship. I was happy to be part of you! Thank you, Judy Braby, our church Office Administrator – your friendly, warm nature and excellent secretarial skills are very much appreciated, and I will miss you! Thank you, UCW, of which I was a member – your contributions to Parkview’s life are very much appreciated and valued. Thank you to so many people, your names not mentioned, but those of you who serve the church faithfully in so many ways. Parkview benefits from your commitment and your efforts.
And thank you, Parkview congregation, for your support, encouragement, love and generosity over these 3 ½ years as your minster. I appreciate you all and I will miss you. Thank you for my parting gift of Emmanuel United Church’s prayer bench and stool. I requested these items – it’s a meaningful gift and I will use it! And thank you for my wonderful, surprise, drive-by send-off last Sunday evening. That was a highlight I will always remember!
Thank you to all, who have made my time here at Parkview United Church, an enjoyable time. To those of you, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for these years of sharing our faith, joys, sorrows, a time of growth and learning for us all. Thank you, and God bless you.