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Farewell Speech for Ewald & Kaethe Goetz - January 25th, 2009

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Farewell Celebration

for Ewald & Kaethe Goetz
















Sunday, January 25th, 2009 – 3:30pm – SHMC


Farewell Celebration for Ewald & Kaethe Goetz

Sunday, January 25th, 2009 – 3:30pm – SHMC


Welcome & Opening                                                   Vic Towes

Congregational Song                                               Hildy Janzen

Poem                                                                  Susanne Loewen

Comments                                                         Pastor Ferd Funk

Singet Psalmen Singet Lieder                               S.H.M.C. Boys

Comments                                                      Pastor Kyle Penner

Here we are, lifting our hands to you Vern & Christina Neufeld

Greetings from Colleages from sister Congregations

Jesus is all the world to me                                  S.H.M.C. Boys

Presentation of Gifts                                             Heinz Kampen

                                                                      Levi & Hilda Unrau

Gleich wie die Schimernde Sterne                        S.H.M.C. Boys

Response                                                  Ewald & Kaethe Goetz

Geh unter der Gnade                           Vern & Christina Neufeld

Litany of Release & Blessing  Ferd, Vic, Ewald & Congregation

Congregational Song                                               Hildy Janzen

Everyone is invited for Food and Fellowship in the Basement.

Farewell Speech for Ewald & Kaethe Goetz


I have been give the honor,

to speak a word of farewell on behalf of the congregation

for you, Ewald & Kaethe.

And I asked myself,

what do you say to a collegue in ministry and a friend

with whom you’ve shared many hours of dreaming,


setting direction,

dividing up tasks,


in short,

with whom you shared the task of “shepherding the flock”?

Since most of our ministry

has been a mix

of times of joy and laughter, on the one hand,

and serious work and prayerful discernment,

on the other hand,

my comments will also have a mix

of lighter comments and a bit of somber reflection.

I trust that it will be alright to make a little bit of fun of ourselves,

       and that we will all know when to laugh

       and when to cry.

Let me begin by sharing a story that I read:

It is not a true story!

And for those of you with a very active imagination

       it is most definitely not what happened at Springfield.

Maybe you too have heard about

a certain Preacher and a Songleader

who had a bit of a rivalry going between them.

They were not getting along very well with each other.

As time went by,

their disagreements began to spill over

into the worship service.

The first week the preacher preached on commitment

and how we should all dedicate our lives to serve God.

The songleader followed the message with the song

"I Shall not be (I shall not be) Moved."

The second week the preacher preached on tithing

and how we all should gladly give to the work of the Lord. The song following the message was

“Jesus Paid it All.”

The third week the preacher preached on gossiping

and how we should all watch our tongues.

The song leader introduced the song

"I Love to Tell the Story."

With all this going on,

the preacher became very discouraged over the situation

and the following Sunday

he told the congregation that he was considering resigning. The musician lead the song

"Oh Why Not Tonight?"

As it came to pass, the preacher did indeed resign.

The next week he informed the church

that it was Jesus who had led him to this church,

and now it was Jesus who was telling him

that it was time to move on.

The song leader lead the song

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

But, in the last days,

       I’m not totally sure about this,

       but, I thought I heard Ewald sing in the Hallway,

       “I’ll fly away, o Glory, I’ll fly away…”     

Indeed, What a friend we have in Jesus!

What I mean is

not in the sense that he told Ewald and Kaethe

to move on from here…

but, in the sense that the Lord truly did send you here

       at a time when this congregation really needed your ministry.

We have a faithful friend in Jesus

in the sense, that you were the right person…

the right couple

for the spiritual care needs of our church

during this past stretch of the way.

We thank God for that!

And we also have a faithful friend in Jesus

       in the sense that we can trust the Lord

       to guide your steps into the future

       and to guide our steps into the future.

As I was reflecting on the past six years

of shared ministry with Ewald

many warm thoughts and emotions washed over me.

But, let me also say with a great deal of humility

that I would be a fool to pretend

that we never had any differences.

In the earlier years we had to find

       a healthy balance of how we were going to put

       our gifts and deficiencies together

       to make it work for the benefit of our congregation.

We served together at many funerals,


       committee meetings,

worship services,

and other events.

And, by the grace of God,

       to my recollection,

       we never used the same story in the same service.

As we all know, one of the main pastoral tasks

       that Ewald fulfilled,

       was the ministry of visitation.

I have learnt a great deal from him

about making a good pastoral visit.

Ewald took this ministry very seriously!

Indeed, Ewald took this ministry so seriously,

       that when he got himself a fishing boat

       he named it “Visitation”.

So, even when he had a day off or when he was on vacation,

       He would be somewhere on Visitation.

But seriously, Ewald,

the Lord has entrusted you,

       with a special gift of listening attentively

       to the real concerns of the heart of God’s people.

I have observed how you have used that gift with great skill

       in the soulcare of our members

       and also persons outside of the church.

Your profound insight into human nature,

       your rock solid foundation in the Word of God,

and your gentle, but firm encouragement

and correction in many difficult situations

have been a gift to our church…

a gift that cannot be expressed in words.

If you allow me, I would like to quote myself

       from the 2008 Annual Report Book

(If you haven’t read it yet, I’ll give you a little taste):

These are my words of gratitude addressed to Ewald.

“A number of years ago the Lord has led our paths

       to join together and share a significant journey of ministry

       together here at Springfield Heights MC.

As iron sharpens iron,

so your gifts and passion for God’s people

have complemented and enhanced mine

and those of everyone else

who has had a role in leadership here together with you.

And we are deeply greatful to God for this gift.”

Ewald, to me,

you have been a role model of humble wisdom,

       of dedication to the Lord and his Church,

       and a true partner in our common faith and minsitry.

As you now leave us,

       we are reluctant to release you.

Not, because we want to hang on to you at all cost,

       but, rather, because you, Ewald & Kaethe,

       have been a very very significant part of our journey.

And so, we do release you with a sense of gratitude and respect.

I can say with conviction that

We all are better people because you were here.

The way you have touched our lives

has increased us as individuals

and as a community of faith

beyond the walls of this church.

Our lives are richer because you were an important part of it.

And we trust,

that you too will know in your hearts

that your lives have been enriched

because of us!

On behalf of Hedi and myself,

       and on behalf of the Springfield Heights Mennonite Church

       I want to say,

“We love you!

And we will never forget you.

God be with you till we meet again!”


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