Ordained elders in the United Methodist Church serve as itinerate pastors. During ordination, we promise to go where the bishop sends. It’s like signing a blank check with the currency of your life, trusting another to spend it wisely.
In April, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson announced the pastoral appointments for the North Georgia Annual Conference. She has appointed me to serve as the new senior pastor of Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta. This Sunday, June 11, I will preach my final sermon at First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville.
God has richly blessed during the past four years in Gwinnett County. I often tell people that pastoral service resembles dog years—one has to multiple the number of years by 7 in order to obtain the true age of a pastor! Using this math, I have actually served First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville 28 years over the last 48 months.
The past weeks have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. This is home, and we love this congregation dearly and will miss the community greatly. However, we are also excited about the fresh opportunity to serve Northside United Methodist Church.
The bishop has assigned Dr. Royeese Stowe as the new senior pastor of FUMC of Lawrenceville, and her first Sunday will be on June 25. I have no doubt the congregation will welcome Dr. Stowe with graceful love. I solicit your prayers for the pastors and congregations involved during this time of transition.
Sometimes more than letters are lost in contractions. Consider the word “Goodbye.” The term actually shortens the phrase: “God be with you.” So today I don’t say farewell to Christ’s saints in Lawrenceville.
Instead, my prayer is that God will be with you . . . until we meet again.