Farewell From Chaplain Radecke

Chaplain Radecke

The Rev. Dr. Mark Wm. Radecke retired at the end of the 2012–13 academic year, ending a 16-year tenure as university chaplain. Associate Professor of Religion Thomas W. Martin, a Lutheran pastor, assumed duties as interim chaplain following Radecke’s departure. With his blessing, Susquehanna Currents proudly shares the last Chaplain’s Corner column Radecke wrote for The Crusader student newspaper.

To quote that renowned theologian Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

How lucky—how blessed—I am to have served as Susquehanna University’s chaplain these past 16 years, and consequently how hard it is to say “goodbye.”

Ending my tenure as the university’s longest-serving chaplain is difficult for one primary reason: I love this place and its people. Tami and I have called this campus home since our arrival in early 1997; we will miss the beauty—physical, mental and spiritual.

I value what this university stands for and appreciate the abundance of opportunities it provides for members of the SU community: students, of course, but also faculty, staff, alumni, parents, friends and the local community.

My parents tried hard to teach me manners, some of which I actually remember. Where they started, I will end—with “please” and “thank you.” Let’s take them in reverse order.

Thank you for allowing me into your lives. You’ve shared confidences, which I assure you will be kept to my dying day. As I have baptized, counseled, taught, married and buried members of the SU community, our lives have become inseparably intertwined. Memory and affection will preserve that which is separated by distance.

Thank you for the opportunity to innovate. Whether it was new styles of worship or new academic courses; such programs as SU CASA, SPLASH and GO Wittenberg; or simply new ways of doing things, you trusted and supported me.

Thank you for forgiving my failures and shortcomings, for they have been many. None of us is perfect and some of us—at least one “some of us”—prove that with astonishing regularity.

Thank you for these things and a thousand more.

Please, please continue to cultivate such qualities of the spirit as curiosity, inquisitiveness, and dissatisfaction with facile answers and faulty arguments.

Please consider my conviction that every person is a beloved child of God, and treat one another in ways appropriate to that lofty status.

Please extend to my successor the same welcome and measure of support you’ve shown me. You will honor me best by receiving the one who comes after me with open arms, praying for him or her (or them!), and accepting the new chaplain’s ministry with love and openness.

It has been the honor of my professional life to serve as your chaplain.

As I have begun so many prayers over the years, so now I end this farewell: “The Lord be with you.”

From The Crusader - Vol. 54, No. 22 - www.thesucrusader.com

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