My dear friends

Thank you so much for all of your support in my formation as a minister. I have grown in my ministry and you have much to do with it. You have no idea how much you have all done to make my time with you welcoming. St. John’s is graced with an amazing history, committed congregants, beautiful children, strong leadership and staff, a wonderful choir, and a brilliant and caring minister in the Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh. If all goes well, we will celebrate my time with you during an ordination service at St. John’s, a process that is not quite ripe. (See Rev. Mitra’s Dear Church letter on ordination.)

In your future, you are facing some significant reorganization and building projects and I have full confidence that you will pull it off. It isn’t usually a straight line from here to there, but the meandering that frustrates some is what helps us be more creative; it is the work together that transforms. Take the time to breathe and reflect

My last day with St. John’s is May 31st. I plan to slow down a little this summer, but I will begin developing a community ministry in Dayton. Our paths may cross in the future as we engage in regional work but our relationship will be different. Rev. Mitra is, as always, your “go-to” person. That said, Rev. Mitra and I are already plotting some work together in the future. I won’t be a stranger. I am sorry I won’t be your “friend” on Facebook; I’d rather be your partner in creating a loving, welcoming UU culture in Southwest Ohio! Let’s put our energy there. Rev. Mitra and I will be in touch regularly and she can let you know how I am.

Separation is hard. Thank you for your expressions of appreciation on May 5 as well as after my final sermon on May 12th. I was overwhelmed by your generosity of spirit. I will truly miss being a regular presence at St. John’s and I will miss all of you.

In the spirit,

Alice Diebel, Intern Minister