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As we finished cleaning our old house this past week I said to my children, “the time has come to say goodbye.” We walked as a family into each room of the house and shared memories that we had experienced in each space. There were a lot of tears. Tears of sadness and deep thankfulness for what we had shared in together. Maybe you think that is silly to do in a house. After all, it is just a house made of brick and lumber.

To me though there is something more significant than just the material house. That temporary home held the lives of people who had a great capacity for love and relationship. That capacity comes from the way in which we were created, by an eternal God for His eternal presence. We have eternity written on our hearts. We were made for eternal things. This eternal DNA causes a longing for permanency, and this is what makes saying goodbye so hard. We inherently want things to remain. We define our entire existence around things remaining. But in this life, nothing remains. Life here on transient earth is a continual goodbye. These goodbyes cause us to grieve because we want so desperately for things to remain.

But, beloved, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We have the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. With this hope in mind, the time has come yet again to say goodbye. This goodbye is to a church family that has loved me, my wife, and my children so well.

We prayed on our first Sunday here that our hearts would be knit together with yours and God has answered that prayer. Answered it so much so that this is one of the hardest goodbyes we have ever had to make. We know we are not the only one’s grieving. Over 60 people are leaving Faith Bible Church to form Trinity Church. Some of these dear saints have been here at Faith since what they call “the wagon train” (also known as the beginning). What a hard decision many of them have had to make. We know there is also sadness amidst those that are staying at Faith. The grief for all of us is real and, I think, important for us to embrace.

Why do we grieve? Because we were made for permanency. Permanent love and communion in eternal relationships is what we were made for as beings made by God. We have tasted this in our fellowship one with another at Faith Bible Church. This taste of heavenly communion makes the pain of saying goodbye acute in some ways. However, it also gives reason to rejoice as we realize that our sweet fellowship here on earth is an indication of what awaits us in glory. We can be deeply thankful for what we have experienced together. We can be sure that because of Jesus this goodbye is temporary. Because of Jesus our God given capacity for love and relationship will find its eternal satisfaction as we gather together in His glorious presence, never to say goodbye again.

Thank you for the love you have shared with us. Thank you for being our family. Thank you for what you have meant to my children. Dan Jarms, thank you for loving us. You have been a friend and a faithful shepherd. Elders of Faith Bible Church it has been a great privilege to serve alongside you. You have been such an example to me in humility and courage. With this we say goodbye through tears of grief and deep thankfulness and most of all an abiding hope through Jesus Christ our Lord.

– Paul Funchess & Family