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Celebrating with the whole Congregation

It is important to include the whole church family in pastor retirement, from the staff to the children’s choir, from Sunday school teachers to new members. Here are some ideas to get everyone involved.

  • Final Church Service: There is hardly a more apt place to celebrate pastor retirement than a special, celebratory, Sunday service. The pastor will more than likely want to deliver a personal sermon or homily, but other parishioners can get involved through music, scripture readings, even religious poetry. If there is a talented soloist in your congregation, consider a solo. The ballad in the video below called “One More Song For You” is a beautiful example.
  • Goodbye Picnic: If your pastor decides to retire when the weather is fine, nothing is more festive than a picnic on the church grounds. Tell parishioners to load their baskets with sandwiches, fruit salad and lemonade and then have everyone bring a dessert to share. Set up a long table loaded with brownies, cakes, cookies and more and tell everyone to dig in. Skits, speeches or even a funny scavenger hunt would fit in well at a picnic.
  • A Look Back: If you’re in charge of the celebration and you happen to be the sentimental type, there won’t be a dry eye in the house if you put together a slide show with old photos, video clips, special notes, quotes and music. You can edit it with recorded music, or have a talented musician in your church family play or sing along. Don’t forget to reach out to other parishioners for their photos and memories!