SKIATOOK, Okla. — A parade of goodbyes.
Cars lined the street in a Skiatook neighborhood to say farewell to two important people: Reverend Susan Whitley, pastor at First United Methodist Church in Skiatook and Reverend Mark Whitley, pastor at Meadow Creek United Methodist Church in Collinsville.
The married couple walked outside Friday afternoon expecting a friend returning books.
“The first couple of cars were from the Skiatook church and I thought, ‘Oh, Linda has organized something with Skiatook people,'" Susan said. "But then they were all interspersed and there were more and more and more cars.”
The Whitley’s are preparing to move. Their friend Linda Tucker wanted a chance to say goodbye.
“We really don’t know if we’re going to have an opportunity to gather again before that happens," Tucker said. "And so, since we can’t go to the church, this was a way to bring the church to them.”
Friends hung signs out of windows, honked their horns and waved goodbye to two people who have been a huge part of their lives.
“To have developed the kinds of relationships we have, but then not to be able to say the proper goodbyes is just really hard," Mark said. "That’s the really hard part. And it’s hard on our churches, too. We understand that. So, this was an amazing gift to us.”
While it’s not the goodbye party they imagined, the Whitley’s are grateful for the chance to see their church members for what could be the last time.
“I’ve been here almost eight years and Skiatook and Collinsville both certainly hold a really special place in our hearts," Susan said.
The Whitley’s are moving to Purcell, which is south of Norman where Susan is taking over a new church.
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