Saying Goodbye

By on February 1, 2024

With the way that deadlines work in terms of publishing the Mustard Seed, I’m writing this piece at the beginning of January, and you’ll read this at either the end of January or the beginning of February. When this paper “drops” (as it were), my last Sunday as the Rector of the Tri-Valley Parish (Virden, Elkhorn, Melita and Reston) has already happened on January 14, and barring any sort of weirdness taking place, I should be in the rainy Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

As I write this, even though I haven’t left the parish quite yet, I’m in my final days as the Rector, and I think I can resoundingly say this: saying goodbye sucks, especially when you’ve enjoyed being part of the communities you’ve been ministering to. 

I still remember vividly the drive out from Richmond Hill, Ontario to Virden, Manitoba. It was a fraught experience, truth be told. I drove through multiple snow storms in January 2017, slowly making my way from Richmond Hill to Sudbury one day, from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie the next, from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay the next, and from Thunder Bay to Brandon on my final travel day, where I stayed overnight with the Bishop. On my first full day in Manitoba, I had a block heater installed on my car (my dealership in Toronto didn’t believe me when I told them that I would need a block heater) and made my way out to Virden. They welcomed this city slicker and over time, he became more and more a part of the community. I would eventually meet my congregations in Elkhorn, Melita and Reston and would get involved in those communities, over time, too. I’ve grown to love all four points of my parish, and I daresay they’ve grown to love me too.

Perhaps that’s why saying goodbye and farewell sucks so much. While I know that God has called me into new adventures, I have loved the adventures that I’ve been part of while here. I am not the minister that I was when I started on January 14, 2017, and I have the people of Virden, Elkhorn, Reston and Melita to thank for that. 

However, as the book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “to everything, there is a season,” and over time, I realized that my season as the Anglican priest in Virden was ending. “All good things must come to an end,” as the old saying goes.

It has been a good thing for me to be here. As I leave this place to continue my ordained ministry, this time in BC, I carry the lessons learned from each of you. Your resilience in the face of challenges and boundless love for one another have inspired and strengthened me. The love and support of these communities as I ministered here has been incredible, and I will be eternally grateful for all of it. 

While saying goodbye is never easy, I am comforted by Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” While our paths may diverge, I know that God will continue to work in this community, as He has done since time immemorial.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to each of you for your warmth, kindness, and the countless ways you have enriched my life. Take care of yourselves and may God’s grace and peace be with you always.


  • Fr. Matt Koovisk

    Fr. Matt Koovisk is the Editor of the Mustard Seed. He served the Diocese from 2017-2024 as the Rector of St. Mary's, Virden; St. Mark's, Elkhorn; St. John's, Reston; and Christ Church, Melita. He also served as the Secretary of Synod during that time.

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