When you boil it down, writing a note or a card is the most basic way to say goodbye to your beloved pastor, but with a little presentation, it can also be the most meaningful. One fun way to bring the sentiments of a note or card to life is to have parishioners read them aloud at a farewell celebration. It can be a small group like the elders or senior staff, or you can invite the entire congregation to take the microphone during a special potluck or party. No one should feel pressured to share their thoughts in public, but those who would like the opportunity should be given the chance.
Special packaging is also a great gift for a collection of handwritten notes. A vintage suitcase or hatbox, glass display box or even a silk bag are all great choices for notes from adults.
If the children of the church have been tasked with writing their own notes and poems or have perhaps created artwork, why not let the kids design the vessel to carry it all away? One simple idea is to get a large cardboard box with a detachable lid and cover the whole thing in butcher paper. Once the box is a solid color, kids can decorate the box with stickers, layered tissue paper, paint handprints, even a photo collage. Your retiring pastor won’t be able to look at his specially designed keepsake box without a fond smile and happy memory.
Note Writing Tips
If you are just looking to get started on a note and don’t know where to begin, here are five simple rules to follow for a heartfelt, well-written message.
1.) Longer isn't better. You don’t need to drone on for two full pages to make your message clear. An honest, heartfelt paragraph is always preferable to a rambling treatise.
2.) Draw on specific memories. Remarking on a memorable sermon, revisiting a shared anecdote or sharing a never before heard story is a great way to make a note a heartfelt token.
3.) Borrow from the pros. If you are scratching your head for the perfect way to begin, try a line of scripture or meaningful quotation. It will get you started with flair and set the tone for your note.
4.) Proofread. Check your note for grammar, punctuation, style and flow before you seal it. Some people prefer to type it on the computer and then re-copy it by hand once it is perfect.
5.) Be yourself. Write like you talk; there’s no need to put on airs. Your note should sound like you, not some shined up version of yourself you’re trying to create.