Knowing When to Leave

From Gabrielle, March 4, 2020

Dear River Road Community,

I write to inform you of my resignation from serving as your Lifespan Religious Educator and from full-time religious education ministry, effective June 30th.

As some of you know, River Road is the 3rd congregation I have served, First Unitarian of St. Louis and All Souls DC, the others, each for eleven years.   I had hoped to serve RRUUC for a similar length but family demands arrived earlier than expected, so ending my full-time ministry after eight years here, in my neighborhood with neighbors, is appropriately my last.

I came to River Road following religious educators who had built a strong and lasting foundation by which to respond to what is “new” in the world. I carried with me, deep respect for their work and often glimpsed admiringly at what they had created before me. It provided a path for us, you and me, to do ministry here together these past years. And so we have.

Knowing when to leave is an element of ministry — it is something of which to be mindful when beginning.  As one works in a congregation always keeping one eye to what piece of ministry is sustainable, from a congregant’s point of view, is vital to the life of a congregation.  I hope what I leave behind is as valuable to you as what I received when I arrived here.  I know that you will be served by better hands than mine, from the amazingly dedicated and talented colleagues who remain and the new ones who will arrive.

I ask parents to please tell your children – I will too this Sunday, March 8 in the service, and  in the coming weeks and months as I say goodbye. I hope you will join me at a few of these opportunities to gather,  the March 22ndCongregational Celebration and the April Retreat (registration deadline March 23)  …and yes links to attend are here and here.

Every month at the RE Committee, we ask, Kasserian Ingera?  It is the traditional greeting of the Masai  which translates to “how are the children?”  The Masai know that what is right with the children is right with the community….and it provides a powerful light by which to guide a congregation’s focus.  The stories we tell at our monthly gathering are largely the basis of our collective work and direction, and I will miss these stories very much.

What I will miss most are the children, of all ages, who make these stories. Their spirit, almost always fully visible, their trust, and their willingness to engage, always, always, reminds that the world is worth saving.

Leaving them will be the hardest part. 

Know that I love you all, adult and child,

even as I go.


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