“”My final service after 27 years at my congregation in Waterville, Maine was on August 30, 2020. I received this poem from a 14-year-old girl I had confirmed in June.

‘Allison’s Farewell Poem

Thank you for the sermons I can’t remember
Thank you for the lines that never went down in history
what I needed then,
what I’ve forgotten,
what you worked so hard on anyway
And thank you for the sermons I never forgot –
a Jell-O mold of Luther’s head,
Weed Whackers in the Master’s field
manna waffles in the wilderness.
Thank you for the “alligators” by the altar
“don’t step off the side, reverence at the chancel!”
Thank you for that scary, first time as an acolyte
when you told me I did well.
Thank you for ink on paper,
stamps on envelopes,
treasure in the mail.
Thank you for reading my stories
for laughing, for responding
one pen-friend in a sea of letters.
Thank you for confirmation class,
giving me a chance to relax,
to ask questions.
Thank you for my first communion and every one since,
for showing me the taste of forgiveness.
Thank you for calm in a virus,
making the transition as easy as possible,
being the same in a flood of “different.”
Thank you for the scattered memories,
the light in the mailbox on a rainy day,
the time your keys were locked in the car,
refilling oil candles,
a picture jumping off the wall
(five dollars for a broken handle; believe me, I tried.)

And now,
staring out the window, picturing
high ceilings, altar, vestments,
the shelf you kept your cough drops on.
The same church
without you in your office,
in Room #201,
in the sanctuary,
a different church.
But the red candle still burns.'”

Rev. Paul Nielsen
Class of 1993

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