I’ve now been back at work a little over a week and my resignation has been public for almost three weeks. I have been so anxious about this time over the past few months. I was concerned about my announcement leaking out early (apparently it didn’t, except for a few isolated cases). I was concerned about how people would take the news. And I was concerned about how I would respond to the congregation’s reaction.
I’m glad to have survived the past two weeks virtually unscathed and with no tar-and-feathering incidents. In fact, most of the congregation has been incredibly gracious and congratulatory about our news. I really appreciate that people understand the positives of this decision for my family and me, and I feel they are genuinely happy for us. Although that doesn’t diminish our sadness about leaving CCC, it certainly makes it easier for us to say farewell with glad and thankful hearts.
I’ve only had a handful of people express a negative reaction, and most of those I’ve heard about second-hand. I did have one person tell me he felt a “sense of betrayal,” which stung a bit, but we had a great conversation and I was able to articulate my feelings about the decision and the sense of timing. I’ve not had anyone else react negatively directly to me, and for that I am thankful. Of course, this past Sunday the Associate Regional Minister Christal Williams (a very good friend of mine) encouraged people to “give Kory a piece of your mind,” so that may change!
My goal until Oct. 25 is two-fold, and if things go as they have these past two weeks, I feel confident I’ll be able to accomplish them. My first goal is to help this congregation move into a time of transition with a positive attitude and a forward-looking perspective. Because the church has such great lay leadership, I really believe this won’t be a problem. In fact, at their last meeting on Aug. 9, the General Board was talking about future plans as if I wasn’t even there – which I won’t be! Personally, it was very strange to sit in a church meeting where they talked about life without me. A part of me was profoundly sad, but for the most part I was excited to see the church ready to move forward into the future.
My second goal is to allow people to say goodbye in whatever way they would like to do that. I don’t want anyone feeling like they didn’t get a chance to express their feelings to me (happiness, sadness, anger, etc.) before I leave. I’m trying to step back a bit from the administrative responsibilities of the church to create space for ending relationships. This will be a difficult process for me but one that I believe is necessary if the church and I want to move forward healthily. I hope to close this chapter in my ministry with grace and gratitude.
So, there’s still a lot of work to be done and I am energized to do it. I never want to be accused of being a “lame duck,” so I hope instead to be considered a “healthy duck” as we move toward the end of our time together. So I end with a robust, hearty, pond-rippling “Quack!” Let’s do this work God has given us to do.