Pastor honored with special farewell party

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By Patricia A. Woodburry

Even with the intermittent rain showers, his followers came to a party, on Sunday, June 28, to thank Pastor Sean L. Forde for his three years of service at Joy Lutheran Church.

More than 150 people attended the celebration — church members, friends, Upward soccer players and local ministers. Because of the number of people, the event was at Countryside Presbyterian Church in their more spacious fellowship hall.

Pastor Sean has served as associate pastor at Joy for the past few years and has now been accepted into graduate school at St. Paul Seminary, in St. Paul, Minn. He plans to get his doctoral degree in biblical preaching. He has also been offered a position at the Florida Bahamas Synod as a mission developer. His first assignment is to develop a church in Port St. Lucie.

Prior to the party, Pastor Sean gave his last Sunday sermon entitled the “Best and the Worst of Days.” He dramatically portrayed the gospel story from St. Mark, Chapter 5, regarding the daughter of Jairus who Jesus made well. Certainly, Pastor Sean demonstrated his obvious interest and talent for biblical preaching.

Following the wonderful feast that all contributed to, the Joy Choir sang two pieces and the Joyful Notes quartet performed. There were many gifts presented. First, Georgia Adams, a member of the Joyful Hands quilting group, presented four colorful and beautiful quilts to the Forde family—one for each of the three children and one for the parents. Terry Couillard, president of the Church Council,  presented a gift of a traveling communion set. A member of the congregation, Margee Strub, made a stained glass hanging with cross and crown and presented it to the Pastor Forde from the congregation. In return the Forde family presented a ceramic hanging mirror to the congregation. He said, “Each time you look in the mirror you will find joy.”

Pastor Sean said that the three years at Joy has been a wonderful witness for them, especially his children, who were blessed with many grandparents who demonstrated a true loving Christian spirit.  Every experience, Pastor Sean said, was a learning experience and he will take what he has learned at Joy with him. He praised Senior Pastor Ed Holloway for being a wonderful friend and mentor whose quiet confidence was a blessing for a new pastor. Pastor Sean acknowledged the value of the spouse, his wife Susan. Unfortunately she has not been recognized often enough regarding her contributions to Joy. She was instrumental these past three years in leading the Vacation Bible School each summer. She participated in all of Pastor Sean’s fundraisers, such as the car show, music festival and of course Upward sports, flag football and soccer. Who else was out there on the field spraying for bugs and manning the refreshment stand, but Susan?

Pastor Ed stated that the Holy Spirit had brought Pastor Sean to Joy and now he is sending him somewhere else. He will miss his friend and will think of him each morning at prayer. Pastor Ed presented Pastor Sean with a clergy shirt and collar.

The members and guests closed the event singing the song “Friends.” For sure, friends are friends forever though it is hard to let him go. Perhaps this was the “Best and the Worst of Days” for many of us saying goodbye to Pastor Sean.

For more photos of the event, visit smcitizen.com