Mandi and I wanted to take a minute to thank you for all the kindness you showed us this past weekend. From the party Friday (special shout out to David and Brad and the rest of the team for the amazing food and atmosphere!) to the services Sunday… the whole thing was so very special to us. The hugs and the cards and the expressions of gratitude – all of it made us feel so loved. We’re leaving here with full hearts.
I said in my message yesterday that part of what made the journey with Bloom so special over the years was how thoroughly and tenaciously this community lived out a robust vision of the kingdom. More than any community we’ve been part of, you did that. You combine so much of what is best in the great stream of historical Christian orthodoxy… your love for Jesus and for the life of prayer and worship that renew our communion with him, your dedication to holy living, your concern for the poor and overlooked of society, your love for the lost and for those whose faith is damaged and/or broken, your dedication to serving one another generously, your openness to the Holy Spirit’s dynamic presence and work, your commitment to and respect for the Great Tradition that surrounds us and orients us and the Scriptures that continually feed and chasten that tradition… I could go on and on. For us, you are a dream come true. Certainly you are God’s dream come true.
That’s a huge part of what gives us great confidence in your future. Add into that the wonderful leaders that serve and surround you, and Mandi and I have every expectation that you will continue to flourish, as God intends.
Leaving you is so bittersweet. I don’t know that it’s the path that any of us would have chosen, but it’s clear that God’s hand is on it. So we follow. And at the end of the day, if our journey with you has been nothing else, it has been a breathless attempt to keep up with the Jesus whose path is always expectedly unexpected. For us, that has hardly been more true than it is right now. Because we trust him, we know there is great good in store for all of us in this.
For these last eight or so years, we’ve carried you as close to our hearts as our own children. This community is precious to us. Your lives are precious to us. And though this is the end of our time with you, the conclusion of my pastorate with you, we hope that you know that we will never stop carrying you in our hearts… we love you so deeply.
I hope that you will stay in touch with us and that you holler at us whenever you’re in or near Colorado Springs (firstname.lastname@example.org!). We will covet every chance we get to see your wonderful faces…
Grace to you, and Godspeed.
– Andrew and Mandi Arndt