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Philip Garside Books

Moving On - eBooks.

Moving On - eBooks.

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Moving On: Grief in Ministry Transitions.

Edited by Silvia Purdie

You are buying a zipped file containing eBook editions of this 286 page book in PDF, ePub and Mobi formats. (2022). ISBNs PDF 9781991027269; ePub/Mobi 9781991027276.

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Any ending of a ministry involves a unique and complex mix of grief for all involved. The pastoral relationship ends, and all that it was must be reworked and re-storied as it moves from present reality into memory.

Moving On is full of good advice and personal stories about a wide range of ministry transitions. Ministers and lay church leadership teams will find in this book practical guidance to help them work through ministry changes with honesty and good grace.

Ministers are professional experts on grief. Holding others through endings, dying and bereavement is a core part of the job. However, attending to our own grief and transitions is easier said than done. It helps when we apply what we know about grief to ourselves and our own families.

Grieving well releases fresh energy and joy, to be available to new communities and contexts. Grieving releases us more fully into God’s life-long call, through different seasons and expressions of ministry.

This book reflects upon the experience of the pastor as he or she works through the process of ‘moving on’ from a ministry. It explores the complex and compound nature of grief, especially when a ministry has been conflicted and when the decision to leave was difficult. It offers a wealth of experiences from a breadth of cultural contexts, from nearly 40 contributors.

The grief of ministry transitions is addressed in prayer and liturgy. There are tools and resources as well as discussion about church processes and policy related to endings such as resignations and retirement.

Poems by New Zealand writer Ana Lisa de Jong add further depth to the book.

Reviewer's Comments

“A fascinating and insightful book about ministry transitions. Silvia has skilfully woven together our human stories with the big story of our Christian faith.” Rev. Rose Luxford, Moderator Designate, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

“Moving On is an eminently practical, honest and theoretically sound book that is so topical for today. Many people will enjoy its relevance. It is impressive in the breadth of viewpoints presented. Best of all, it is very readable!” Rev. John Hornblow, ex-Deputy Mayor of Palmerston North

“What a taonga this book is! Artful weaving of stories, poems, prayers, and research crafts a kete fit to hold the emotions, challenges and impacts inherent in ministry transitions.

Scripture finds voice in poems and liturgies that name the realities of transition and loss, yet engender hope and the possibility of new beginnings.  

Here is deep, hard won, hope-filled practical wisdom. Moving On is a timely contribution for all who minister in these changing times.” Rev. Dr. Karen Kemp, Senior Coach/Lecturer Laidlaw College – Te Wānanga Amorangi 

“I commend this book as a ministry in its own right – a service for God’s servants so that we may transition better. A treasury of wisdom and a toolbox of liturgical resources.” + Peter Carrell, Anglican Bishop of Christchurch 

“In this comprehensive overview of ministry endings Silvia Purdie very helpfully addresses the grief and pain experienced by many.”  Murray Robertson, Pastor Emeritus, South West Baptist Church, Christchurch. 

About the author

Rev. Silvia Purdie brings extensive leadership experience to this work of pastoral theology.

An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand with a background in youth and family ministry, she is also a counsellor, professional supervisor and consultant.

Her other books are Let’s Say a Psalm and Awhi Mai Awhi Atu: Women in Creation Care

Contents & Contributors

  • Foreword – Maja Whitaker


  • Grief in Ministry Transitions
  • Layers: a Cross-Cultural Conversation
  • This Heart – Ana Lisa de Jong
  • My starting point
  • Tough Honesty
  • Dedications
  • A Theology of Transition – Alistair Mackenzie
  • Transition – Ana Lisa de Jong

Section One: Grieving Endings and Changes in Ministry

The Tasks of Grief

  • To fully decide to leave
  • To end many relationships and renegotiate a few
  • To work through the pain of grief
  • To tell a grace story of that ministry
  • To reinvest in a new ministry
  • The Work of Grief – Ana Lisa de Jong
  • Fire, Cloud and Calling – Fakaofo Kaio
  • Your Loss is Our Loss – Tokerau Joseph
  • Never Forgotten: Death in Active Ministry – Caroline Mareko Uili Teó
  • Mana Fa’ailo Leasi-Paese
  • Internally Displaced: a Spouse’s Perspective – Jenny Flett
  • A Lay Leaders’ Perspective – Alan and Elizabeth Purdie
  • Farewells Never Happen – Hone Te Rire
  • A Journey with Endings and New Beginnings – Robyn McPhail
  • Rejection and Colonial Mentality – Joohong Kim
  • Am I Doing the Right Thing? – Henry Mbambo
  • Jesus, Man of SorrowsI Cried – Ana Lisa de Jong

Section Two: Complicated Grief in Ministry Transitions

  • Exile: Multiple Loss
  • I Will Sing the Songs of Zion – Henry Mbambo
  • The Wheat and the Weeds: Ambivalent Attachment
  • A Friend But Not a Friend
  • Forced Exit: Trauma
  • Faamagaloga: Forgiveness – Mua and Linda Strickson-Pua
  • Grieving Alone: Disenfranchised Grief
  • That Sense of Being Alone – Don Hall
  • Crisis of Calling: Meaning and Purpose
  • I Thought I Was Called – Jill Kayser
  • Long Shadows – Ana Lisa de Long

Section Three: Recovery

The Only Way Out is Through

  • Rest
  • Own it
  • Surrender
  • Get in the Flow
  • Work it Out 
  • Grief and Gratitude in Two Hands – Lynne Baab
  • Is Your Concept of Ministry Restricting? – Elsa McInnes
  • We Want to Hear Your Voice – Hone Te Rire
  • For All That Has Been – Alister Hendery
  • Unravelling and Re-ravelling – Steve Taylor
  • Heart Song – Ana Lisa de Jong
  • The Remains of the Day – Ana Lisa de Jong
  • Being Well: Mission, Trauma and Healing – Sarah Beisly

On the Mat: Grief and Ministry in the Samoan Church – Fele Nokise

  • Ministry and Authority
  • When a minister dies
  • Pain and Faith
  • Practical Suggestions
  • Mat Theology
  • How Good – Ana Lisa de Jong

Section Four: Praying Goodbye

Liturgies for Grieving

A Process of Healing: Joyce Rupp

  • Prayer of One Going with Gratitude
  • Prayer of One Forced to Leave
  • Prayer of One in Exile
  • Prayer of One Who Feels Crushed
  • Prayer of One Changing Roles
  • Prayer for Moving from Complaint to Trust
  • Praying Goodbye with Children
  • Blessing of Closure When Leaving a Congregation or Group: Mary Nilsen

Songs for Endings

  • As You Go On Your Way – John Ylvisaker (song)
  • Holy Spirit, ever seeking – Colin Gibson (song)
  • May the God of Peace – Jules Riding and Silvia Purdie (song)
  • The Peace Song – Silvia Purdie (song)
  • Blessing Song List

Poems and Psalms by Silvia Purdie

  • Tipped out
  • My question on pain
  • Trauma and Recovery
  • Psalm 20: “The Answer to My Call”
  • Psalm 42: “As the deer longs”
  • Psalm 70:14: “Hope Continually”
  • A Theology of Ending

Life Calls For Lament – Malcolm Gordon 

  • Lament: a prayer to God when we cannot find God – Malcolm Gordon
  • Inside Out – Ana Lisa de Jong
  • Except a Grain of Wheat – Ana Lisa de Jong

Section Five: Tools for Moving On

Leaving Well: 10 Tips

  • What to Say and What Not to Say
  • Rules for communicating when you are leaving

  • Practical Pointers – Andy Piggott
  • The Role of Presbytery – Steve Jourdain
  • Releasing the Pastoral Tie – David Coster
  • The Key Role of Church Elders
  • Grieving Congregations and Church Decline – John Daniel
  • From the Centre to the Edge – Susan Blaikie
  • Our ‘Vacancy’ Model is Broken – Richard Dawson
  • Managing Staff Transitions – Richard Dawson
  • Youth Ministry Transitions – Nga Rolston and Gordon Fitch
  • God Goes and God Stays: Children and Change – Robin Humphreys
  • Farewell Gifts
  • Career Coaching – Josiane McGregor
  • Debrief and Re-brief – Rachel and Damon Fitzpatrick
  • Journaling as a Grief Practice – Henry Mbambo
  • A Bridge from Here to There – John Hornblow

Supervision and ‘Space for Grace’ – John Daniel

  • Supervision Process
  • Companionship
  • Anger
  • Ethics
  • Preparing for Retirement – David Coster
  • A Retiring Offering – Margaret Garland
  • A Happy Ending – Anne Thomson
  • The Risk – Ana Lisa de Jong

Moving On: A Conclusion

  • Book List
  • Ana Lisa and her Poems
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