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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

A Pastoral Letter – Closure and Praying Goodbye to 400 High Street

prayingfrontleafDearly Beloved,

Whether you plan to continue with us in our new ministry, or you have decided to join another faith community (or somewhere in between) we urge you to gather together this Sunday, September 21 and next Sunday, September 28 for our closing worship services at 400 High Street, Medford.

This Sunday, September 21 worship will focus on “Praying Our Goodbye”
to the way things have been and to people who will no longer be with us.
We are hopeful that everyone will come to participate.

Worship will include favorite classic hymns of the church, a time for you to reflect on favorite moments of the past and speak of the things you will miss. There will also be a time in the worship service to release and bless those whose relationship with this community is changing.

The liturgy of farewell begins:

indexOur church family is constantly changing. People come and go. Babies are born. Children grow up. People commit themselves to one another. Loved ones and friends among us come to the end of their lives. Individuals move into our community and church life. Others leave us, moving away to new places, new experiences, and new opportunities.

It is important and right that we recognize these times of passage, of endings and beginnings. Today we share the time of farewell with a friend/friends who is/are leaving.

It IS important and right that we honor this moment with a time to say farewell–to our building, to the way things have been and to those of our community who will take their leave.

Next Sunday, September 28 we will gather at 400 High Street to pray goodbye to the building and celebrate our new beginning.

This service will offer a chance to literally be released from the burden and responsibility of the building. We will ceremoniously throw our keys and our collective connection to the property into a vessel that will be handed over to the new owners. You will have a chance to write a note of welcome and encouragement as well as warnings about (and solutions to) the property’s idiosyncrasies!

Mimosa-Cocktail-RecipeThen we will pick up symbols of our worship life (hymnals, candles, and crosses) and carry them to our new home–Sanctuary, UCC at 458 High Street. Awaiting us will be a celebration of the rebirth of our faith community and a catered brunch reception. All are invited.

If you have decided that you will worship elsewhere, we still want you with us for the celebration, for you have been a part of creating the space and vision for the future and we are blessed by the ministries and presence of all who have been a part of the past!!

RSVP Please? Send an email to

  1. Let us know if you will be with us for Brunch so we can plan for food and mimosas!!
  2. If you and your family have decided not to proceed with Sanctuary, UCC, please let us know so that we might honor your decision and your ministry amongst us as part of our liturgy of farewell.
  3. Let us know if you will be able to be with us for either of the services so that we might pray with you.

Praying for sweet remembrance, grace-filled blessings and closure for all,

Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade

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