By Kelley Burns
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. (Ecc. 3:1)
2020. What a strange time we’re living in. If you had asked me what I had imagined for 2020, this bizarre quarantine existence would not have been my response. An Earth-stopping pandemic was never on my radar. If you had asked me my plans for 2020, leaving Columbia, and in particular, the Newman Center, would not have been on my list. And yet, I find myself typing this article from my new home in Saline, Michigan.
In March, right before the world upended itself, I accepted a position as Director of Worship at Christ the King Church in Ann Arbor. I felt called by the Holy Spirit to pursue this position, and as it turns out, it feels very much like the place God is calling our family to next. But as certain as we feel that this is God’s will for us, it doesn’t come without sorrow. Leaving is bittersweet. We are leaving behind our families, our friends, and our wonderful, lifetime church community (many of you fall into more than one of those categories).
And what a time to leave. On the day we moved in, it snowed (it was May 8, by the way). We are now finishing out the stay-at-home order in a place that is barely our home, surrounded by nothing we know and no one familiar. (I couldn’t even find a good cup of coffee for four days — if you know much about me you know that my blood type is caffeine.)
I’m reminded of something Fr. Rich says to me often: If you’re going to trust God, you have to trust him all the time. We are in a new season — an appointed time of change. I believe that God is faithful and will see all of us through this transition. I believe that God is faithful and will see us through this pandemic.
I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to you, this Newman community. This faith community has raised us — Mike, me, and now our children. You have been ever supportive as we have grown, ministered, and been ministered to. You have shared our tears and laughter. You have encouraged us to pursue Jesus in an authentic and spirit-filled way. You have taught us what it means to love our neighbor. It is unfortunate that leaving at this time means not getting to really say a proper goodbye. I wish I could hug you, sing with you, grab a coffee with you! I wish we could pray with you, all together in one place again! Everything in its appointed time, I suppose.
I have no doubt that I will get to see many of you again at some point down the road. So consider this just a “see you soon,” as Angelle would say. And know that I will be praying for you all as you weather the storm and navigate all the changes that lie ahead. I am proud and honored to call Newman my home, and you my friends. Thank you.