On to retirement for Ruth Morrison
After 45 years in ministry services, including the last 13 at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church, the Rev. Ruth Morrison is retiring, effective June 30.
Ruth’s last service of preaching was June 18 and on June 25, the congregation held a Celebration Service for all Ruth has done in Cape, the United Methodist churches in Goodwins Mills, Saco and Lewiston, and the Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland.
Lay Leader Steve Hill (above photo) led the service, including the delivery of a stirring and heartfelt appreciation of Ruth’s caring for himself and the congregation during her 13 years in the Cape.
In addition to the service being filled with members of the Cape congregation and friends, a contingent from Ruth’s former church in Lewiston, Calvary UMC, was in attendance, bringing forth plenty of memories and deep embraces of affection.
During Children’s Time, Steve Hill asked “What is special about today?” and 6-year-old Mason Keezer (above) quickly responded, “Ruth is retiring.” Steve then asked, “What does retiring mean?” and Mason again was quick to respond, “She’ll rest.” Perfect answer.
Our church always expects great things from the Faith York-led choir, but for the Celebration Service, Faith and Company rose to an even higher level of excellence, particularly during its “Irish Blessing” for Ruth.
Because of the anticipated length of the Celebration Service, the Passing of the Peace was not included in the original Order of Service. But when Ruth arrived on Sunday, she said she would like to have the Passing of the Peace as usual — and she and the congregation enjoyed every minute of it.
The Rev. Jim Yong delivered the Opening Prayer . . .
. . . and Margaret Charmichael and Aaron French read scripture lessons, making the Celebration Service a true reflection of our entire church family.
While much of the Celebration Service followed the order of a traditional Sunday, one major deviation came when Elvis entered the building and presented Ruth with an Elvis bobblehead, telling her that because he gave it to her, it would be worth $10,000 on e-Bay.
Elvis, accompanied by Stephen Bither on piano, then serenaded the congregation with his original “Pastor Ruth’s Communion Wine,” sung to the tune of “Love Potion Number 9.”
Derry Rundlett was masterful as our Elvis.
Toward the end of the service, Ruth was presented a two-volume “encyclopedia” of her 45 years in ministry by Mark Braun, head of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. Ruth enjoyed flinging the colorful tissue wrapping almost as much as opening the books.
Another tribute came from Mark Braun and his daughter Camille with the reading of an original Dr. Seuss-like poem about what Ruth has meant to the Cape congregation.
The service ended, fittingly, with Ruth and Steve Hill walking out of the Sanctuary to the applause of the congregation.
Click here for additional images from the Celebration Service: