I interrupt the anecdotes (mercifully!) to announce a particular finishing line that I shall shortly cross. Carol and I are returning to Northern Seminary for my official farewell (and the final emptying of my office and store room). March 21st will mark the formal closure of 14 years' teaching at Northern. Since 2000 when the C.W. Koller Chair of Preaching was inaugurated with me the first occupant, Carol and I have lived an exhilarating adventure. In addition to teaching which I have revelled in, and writing books which I have revelled less in (!), we have been thrown into some amazing church experiences. Three times I have been interim preacher in remarkably contrasting churches and each time been gifted with another wave of friends. Lectures and conferences have taken us to well over 30 different States, as well as internationally, where again we have made lasting friendships.
The seminary is graciously setting aside an evening (March 21st) for us to say goodbye to faculty, staff, students, neighbors, churches I have served and so many friends who have enriched our years. The exact arrangements are a surprise but to my great joy I have just discovered is that the evening will include a Service of Thanksgiving. Giving thanks to God is top priority!
I plan to go on with some preaching and freelance teaching commitments (so long as Carol deems me intelligible!) but this date gives opportunity for thanks as full-time work draws to a close. Actually, two months later, May 21st marks the 42nd anniversary of my ordination and ever since 1972 I have been engaged full-time in Christian ministry. So, a big thank-you to the Lord who has made it possible and so many of you who have shared along the way.