Next stop: Retirement
For the final service the Rev. Casey Collins would serve as a minister, she was reminded throughout the June 2 Sunday morning of the impact she had made on seven churches over 27 years. In addition to her home Cape Elizabeth United Methodist congregation, there were members in attendance from two of her previous churches in Maine — Calvary in Lewiston and West Cumberland. There also were video remembrances from three of her other churches — Brackett Memorial on Peaks Island and Good Shepherd in Gray — both in Maine — and Milford in New Hampshire.
The service was a time for reflection and celebration.
Pastor Casey with Preston Stewart during the scripture reading.
Throughout an emotional sermon during which Pastor Casey reflected on why she became a minister and the congregations that made her stronger, she concluded with this verse from Acts:
“Now I’m turning you over to God, our marvelous God whose gracious Word can make you into what God wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need in this community of holy friends.”
Throughout the service, hymns that were sung were all of Pastor Casey’s favorites, including “Joy to the World”, “Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness”, and “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”. The choir also performed special selections, just foe Pastor Casey.
For her final Children’s Story, Pastor Casey called up the children and talked with them about us being a big, loving family. She then asked everyone to come forward for a group photo of the “family”. The photo also was taken to submit to the Reconciling Ministries Network along with our new mission statement to officially register us as a Reconciling Congregation.
A number of gifts were presented to Pastor Casey, including photos of six of the churches she has served, a hand-decorated pillow case from the Sunday School, a Book of Jokes from Stephen Bither (because as Stephen explained, Casey also managed to add lighter moments to her sermons), a large basket of dahlias (her favorite), another basket of dahlia bulbs, and a heart-shaped rock Mark Braun found on the beach, which he inscribed with a personal message from the church:
For her closing prayer, Pastor Casey gave the congregation a message that was hard for her to deliver:
“O God, creator of us all, and giver and preserver of all life, we confess to you our slowness to always accept your plans for us. Enable us, we pray, to put our trust in you that we may obtain comfort, guidance and find grace to help in this and every time of decision so we might without hesitation to be your true and loving servants and be able to say hello and then, when it’s time, to say goodbye. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
A reception was held in Fellowship Hall after the service, put together by our United Methodist Women.
More photos from Pastor Casey’s farewell: