Rev Dr Sarah Mitchell, Knox's first female minister, gave her last service in the central Dunedin church yesterday before embarking on retirement.
Carolyn Richardson, on behalf of the congregation, said Rev Mitchell had arrived to a hurt and divided congregation. From that, she had created one with a sense of unity and a greater tolerance and respect for differences.
Her compassion, musicality and warm friendly personality would all be missed, as would her sermons which made biblical texts relevant to everyday life, she said.
Their appreciation was shown with the gift of a quilt titled Star of Hope which about 90 of the congregation had secretly been making over a period of seven months.
Knox Church council clerk John Elder said Rev Mitchell's inspirational and passionate leadership was appreciated, as were her organisational skills.
Thanks and appreciation was also voiced from the Southern Presbytery and the Inner City Church Association for her work in ministry training, her liturgical creativity, and support of tertiary chaplaincy.
With equal emotion, Rev Mitchell thanked the congregation for letting her into their lives.
''I'm overwhelmed with the love, the gifts, the words, the amazing experience I have had over these last years with you.''
Mr Elder said after the farewell the search was on for a new minister for Knox.