Linda Stumpf, Designated Lay Minister of the United Church has bid farewell to Grenfell.
After 20 years of ministry, five of which spent in Grenfell, Linda has retired.
“I made the decision to retire. It seemed like the right decision to make but it was a difficult one because I’ve really enjoyed my time with these people,” she said Tuesday afternoon as she packed her church office. “Of course it will be the people that we miss. My husband has his coffee friends that he will certainly miss, and I will very much miss the church and the community as a whole.”
Linda, and her husband Leonard, will move to Morse, Saskatchewan, where they own a home and property.
“We actually did think about staying in Grenfell, but we have a house (in Morse) and don’t need another,” she said.
Before serving the United Church, Linda served a six-point pastoral charge at the New Venture, south of Swift Current. She and her husband then moved on to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where Linda completed an interim ministry stint on a five-point pastoral charge. After three years, the couple decided to return to Saskatchewan and the opportunity in Grenfell surfaced.
“Grenfell happened to be available and so I sent my resume in and the rest, they say, is history.”
Linda said leaving the community, and the church, will be hard for her and her husband, as well as the congregation.
“I think we’re all having a hard time letting go. We’ve had a good relationship.”
The congregation held a farewell party on Sunday, May 27, the celebratory Sunday of Pentecost. Linda said that was the beginning of goodbyes, leading up to her last service held on June 24.
“That was the end of covenant service where I say to them ‘I’m not your minister anymore’. It was hard to do that. It’s a hard service to get through because you’re ending a relationship that you’ve had with people for a number of years,” said Linda. “What do you say to people you’ve learned to love, and what are the last words you say before you go?”
“Grenfell has been a great place to live,” she said. “I’d just like to say thank you to all the people in the community who made us welcome. We’ve enjoyed our stay here and we will certainly be popping in, in the future.”
A new minister will take lead of the United Church sometime this summer. Though final approval has not yet been given by the United Church Presbytery, Linda said she’s confident that Ordained Minister David Maxwell will arrive in July and begin his service the first Sunday of August.