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May 24 Minister’s Message

Beloved Friends,

Yesterday our congregation received a letter from me that began in the following way:

“Our story begins and concludes with God’s grace, mercy and peace that surrounds us with love and fills us with light all the days of our lives. We affirm the love of God who was with us before we were born, accompanies us through every hallowed season, and on that day, welcomes us home with all the saints in light. As God’s beloved, we navigate life’s varied seasons in company with one another, and so it is that I write to you now. At the conclusion of this year after thirty-five years of service, I will retire from full-time local church ministry.”

The congregation received their letters in the afternoon, and the church council will meet soon to form a search committee and make a transition plan for the next chapter. Each one of us in turn comes to that time when we transition from what we’ve always done, to what God will have us yet do. The tasks for the next feel ever so much different from the now.

Our life rhythms tend to focus on decades of vocation or avocation, parenting or neighboring, volunteering or hustling the soccer van. Whether the transition comes when a relationship ends, or the nest empties, or our full-time working years diminish, God accompanies us through every changing season.

Now only a day into the announcement of my pending retirement, advice abounds. After the heart-felt congratulations, well-wishers talk about their own transition from full time work to retirement. They describe their transition as human do-ings to human be-ings. While meaningful occupations continue to fill their days, they express their gratitude for the gift of time and the opportunity to engage neglected relationships and embrace passions postponed during the years when they had someplace to be by 8 or 9 in the morning.

In the months ahead, I look forward to walking alongside you as we continue to do what we’ve always done: to embody the love in the world and to follow the way of Jesus. Together we’ll lean in as a uniting and United Church of Christ as we navigate yet one more challenging election season, a hurricane season, and events we cannot yet see. Pray with me not only to be not afraid but also to walk with courage. For we know who we are, and this weekend we remember to whom we belong.

With gratitude,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach

INVITATION: If you’re in town, please join us for Memorial weekend worship at 8:30 in the chapel, 10:15 in the Sanctuary and Community Hall, and live-stream at

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