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A Good Farewell

Prayers of Taking Leave, Blessing, and Commissioning

People shouldn’t just leave a community. Whether it be from church, a neighborhood, a fellowship group, or a campus ministry, people don’t just “move on.” These are events that need to be marked with prayer. So at Wine Before Breakfast, an early morning eucharistic service at the University of Toronto, we have a tradition of closing the last service of a semester with prayers of taking leave, for which the following prayer was written. Feel free to adapt it and use it, with due acknowledgement.

Leader: Words in italics
Returning members: Words in regular font
Departing members: Words in bold

Let us pray.

God of covenant love,
we give you thanks, for you sustain us
with real food and real drink.
You nourish us
with friends as real as food,
with joy as clear as water,
with love as good as this meal.

This is enough.
We do not ask for more.
This is more than enough reason
to bless your name forever.

Brothers and sisters, when we pray for these sisters and brothers, what is our prayer?

In our prayers for you we always thank God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
for we know firsthand
your faith in Jesus Christ,
your love for all the saints,
and that you live in the light
of resurrection hope.

—adapted from Colossians 1:3–5

What is your deepest desire for these friends?

We pray that you will be filled
with the knowledge of God’s will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that you will continue
to live a life worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing to him;
and that your life
will continue to bear fruit in every good work.
As you walk in faith,
bear the cross of Jesus,
serve the church,
and rejoice in your discipleship.

—adapted from Colossians 1:9–12

And what do you want to say to our brothers and sisters as they take leave of our Wine Before Breakfast fellowship?

Beloved sisters and brothers:
take heed that you fulfill
the ministry that the Lord has given you:
Live in the truth,
care for the sick,
minister to the dying,
do not forsake the breaking of bread,
seek the peace of the city,
and practice resurrection.

We bless you, we give thanks for you, we hold you in our prayers, and we commission you.

The cross,
we shall take it.

The bread,
we shall break it.

The pain,
we shall bear it.

The joy,
we shall share it.

The gospel,
we shall live it.

The love,
we shall give it.

The light,
we shall cherish it.

The darkness,
God shall perish it.

Adapted from “The Cross” by the Iona Community
© 2000, WGRG, Iona Community, Scotland
GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive North American agent
All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.
Congregational reprints through ONE LICENSE (The Cross - Lent responses 6).

Go forth, dear friends,
with our blessings
and our prayers.

Go forth in the power
of the risen Christ.

Go forth as envoys of the
coming kingdom.

Go forth and bear witness
in all that you do,
to the love of God,
the redemption of Christ,
and the comfort
of the Holy Spirit.

Amen; thanks be to God.

—“Prayers of Taking Leave, Blessing, and Commissioning” by Brian Walsh. Used with permission.