Title/s of honoured guests, title of clergy, Ladies and Gentlemen:
There is a scene in a famous film called It's a Wonderful Life where a man who has done much good in a town, doubts his worth. In despair he considers taking his own life. An angel hoping to earn his wings intervenes here. He wants to show the man what a difference he has made to the town, and takes him on journey back through time. He shows him what the town would be like if the man had not been there to help and influence it. The man gradually realises what a difference he has made to the lives of others, and resolves to value his own worth and those of his friends.
It would be inconceivable to imagine our parish as it is today without the person whom we have come to thank today. Both (Name) and (If applicable) his wonderful spouse have not only made us what we are today, they have become a part of the tapestry of parish life. That is to say we will find it extremely difficult to imagine our life without them. However like the colours in a tapestry their influence and force for good and change will always be a part of our big picture. Now I don't mean to suggest that our parish would have been a den of iniquity without this lovely person/ lovely people. The point is that it would have been less colourful and less a community. There would not, for instance, have been such wonderful atmosphere amongst the parishioners. (Name) came amongst us and brought with him/her a character filled with generosity warmth and spirit. Neither would there been so many friendships with a person many of us are delighted to call a wonderful and close friend. There would not have been so many momentous events without such a generous leader and representative. The evidence of (Title's) hand is everywhere. He/She has given so much of himself/herself that really we are going to miss his presence dreadfully. (If applicable) Together with his/her spouse they have become a couple who deserve not just the greatest respect but our genuine and heartfelt thanks and admiration.
Truly (Title) we will be sorry to let you go. We will use your achievements from now on as the benchmark of everything that we need to accomplish. You have been our mentor, our spiritual guide and you have even tackled the mountain of administrative work with zeal and enthusiasm. Now that says it all!
The clergy, like soldiers, are not masters of their own destiny. You have been called from us and you face a new challenge, a new world. We envy those who will be your new parishioners and friends. We hope you will not forget, though, that you are still and always will be a part of what we are.
Ladies and gentlemen please join me in a toast to our pastor and our friend. (Name) May God bless you and may you find fulfilment and happiness wherever you may go.