Saying goodbye is rarely easy. When a pastor relocates, his leaving affects the entire congregation. Many church communities throw a farewell party for a leaving pastor, to celebrate his time at the church, thank him for all he's done and send him on his way.
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The group responsible for throwing the farewell party needs to spread the word about the festivities and invite the community. Smaller congregations may opt to send individual invitations to families. Mailing invitations is also a better idea if the farewell party is to be kept a surprise for the pastor. Larger communities that don't mind the pastor being in on their plans can invite guests and post important information about the event in a church bulletin.
Decorations are a crucial part of a celebration and help liven up the farewell party's venue. Simple steps, such as adding tablecloths to tables and slightly dimming the lights, can help make the space more cozy and festive. Add a final decorative touch to the tables by topping them with simple floral arrangements. Colorful collections of balloons, including a few polyester film balloons with farewell messages tied to table legs and chairs, add bursts of color to the room. Finally, hang streamers and string lights to complete the party look.
Food & Beverages
Typically, farewell parties feature a spread of food and a selection of beverages for the guests, as well as the pastor. Decide beforehand whether you'd like a sit-down meal. Dishes that are easy to make in bulk, such as spaghetti with pasta sauce, are well-suited for a larger get-together. Sometimes it's easier to avoid the hassle of a sit-down meal. Instead, serve appetizers and hors d'oeuvres for guests to snack on. For drinks, provide guests with a variety of soda, juice and water.
Since a farewell party focuses on the person who is going away, many of the activities at a farewell party involve the pastor. Invite guests to share stories about their experiences with the pastor or speak about the impact he has had on their parish. Place a guest book or memory book on a table and invite guests to write personal messages to the pastor. Finally, save time for the pastor to open any going-away presents he receives at the party.