Rev. stephen McKinney-whitaker • pastor

Pastor Stephen and Pastor Marie

On March 27 we will recognize and give thanks for Rev. Marie Buffaloe’s 25 years of pastoral service to Derry Church. I invite you to  join in person or by live streaming as Pastor Marie leads worship and preaches one last time. I appreciate Marie’s sermons because she speaks and proclaims the good news with such authenticity and love. I’m fed, comforted, and challenged by her words, and I know this Sunday will be no different. Her love of God and this congregation is so evident when she leads worship. I hope our presence and our participation in worship this Sunday clearly reflects our love of God and our love and appreciation for her. 

Following the 10:30 am service, a post worship fellowship in Fellowship Hall will be held in her honor. 

Then at 3 pm, I invite you to attend a program held in the Sanctuary and streaming. As we honor and give thanks for Pastor Marie’s ministry, Dick Houtz, Debbie Hough, and I will share our memories and reflections on Marie’s ministry. The puppets will offer a tribute to Marie, we’ll present gifts, and there will be music for all to enjoy. We’ll join together in a liturgy of thanksgiving for all the ways Marie has ministered to us. Finally, we’ll have an opportunity to give thanks for Marie and Brad’s time at Derry and bless them as they enter a new chapter of life together. 

After the program, come to Fellowship Hall for a reception that will include some of Marie’s favorite foods. There will be a basket to receive cards and a keepsake guestbook where you can write a personal note to Marie. This book will be available over the next few weeks so that everyone who wants to can have an opportunity to sign it.

Pastor Marie has meant so much to all of us at Derry Church. She has been a pillar of strength, care, compassion, wisdom, and love when we’ve needed it most. She has prayed with us through our saddest and most difficult days and celebrated with us when we’ve been filled with joy and thanksgiving. She’s baptized our children and buried our loved ones. She’s united us in marriage and counseled us in distress. She’s visited us in the hospital and in our homes and shared the love of God with our congregation. She’s been the manifestation of God’s abiding love and care in our lives for 25 years, and she will be deeply missed. 

I know I will miss her very much. Marie has been the kind of colleague every pastor deserves but few ever have. I count myself lucky to have been able to minister alongside her these last five years. She made my transition to ministry here so much easier, and for that I will be forever grateful. She has taught me about Derry’s history and traditions, and its wonderful people. She’s been a colleague, a counselor, a confidant, and a cherished friend. I will miss her humor, passion, advocacy, intuition, and heart for God and God’s people. While I will miss ministering alongside her, I am glad to wish her a happy and blessed retirement. She deserves it and she deserves to leave knowing how loved she is, how grateful we are, and what a difference she has made in our lives and the life of this church.