When a pastor moves on to a new parish, a gift committee is often assembled to come up with the perfect remembrance, the ideal token of service. There are a lot of different approaches you can take when it comes to choosing a gift, but here are a few categorical suggestions to get you started.
Memorabilia from the Church: If your pastor is moving on to another congregation, what better way to send him off than with a little piece of the church in his pocket? If a renovation is on the horizon, you can mount a piece of stained glass in an engraved frame. Or dry and press some flowers from a memorable service and put the petals in an old fashioned collector’s box. Even the sign over a favorite classroom makes a good gift.
Engraveable Token: Inscription takes a gift from “present” to “remembrance.” The words you choose can speak volumes, calling up special memories, highlighting devoted service, putting the final flourish on a beautiful gift. Crystal Central makes gorgeous, hand-crated pieces that can be deep etch engraved and embellished at no additional cost. Each piece is unique and hand polished to a high shine. The example below would be a beautiful gesture for any pastor moving on to another congregation.
Church Memories: It’s simple, it’s timeless and it is the kind of gift that will make an impression forever. Gathering a collection of photographs from your pastor’s tenure at your church is such a meaningful way to say goodbye. Make copies of photos from the church collection, reach out to current and former members for their personal photos and contribute those of your own. Assemble a beautiful array of memories and arrange them in an elegant album that your pastor can always look back on. If you’d rather store them in photo boxes, there are some great organizational options out there. J.C. Penney offers this beautiful keepsake box with a photo frame on top.
Dates of Service Pendant: Since the cross is one of the oldest symbols of Christian faith, nothing is more precious than a cross pendant with simple engraving. Consider putting a pastor’s dates of service at a specific congregation on one side and the name of the church on the other. Silver is a wonderful option when you’re considering materials. The pendant can be worn or even just hung on a peg near the mantle or in a pastor’s study. This Zales piece is a strong, masculine option.
Send-off Kits: If you are looking for a small supplemental gift or just something lighthearted, make your own send-off kit for the family on the brink of a move. Pack snacks for the road, small toys and games to keep the children entertained along the way, a first aid kit and emergency toiletries. You can include signature treats from Congregationalists and homemade cards and notes to liven things up. What a friendly send off for a family embarking on a new chapter!