Brethren pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified even as it is with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Now upon us is the season of change. None of us are ever completely comfortable with change and when you speak of changing pastors, you are naturally concerned with what that will mean for the immediate future of our church. I hope I can calm any anxiety about that and say how delighted I am to welcome the Rev. Howard Fleming and his wife, Donna, to First UMC: Elkin. I have every confidence that you will be absolutely delighted with the Flemings and their ministry to this church and community. I believe that Rev. Fleming is absolutely the exact person that this church needs in the season in which we are and will serve the needs of this church, her membership and the community to great benefit. They are excited about coming to be part of your church family.
Several of our lay members are interested to know how these pastoral appointments get made. Officially, our appointments are only for one year at a time and are made by our bishop, who currently is Paul Leeland. The bishop and the district superintendents work tirelessly in an effort to supply every church with the pastor whose gifts match the current needs of the church. They begin with two lists: one is the pastors requesting to move, and one is a list of churches anticipating a new pastoral appointment. One caveat: a pastor requesting a move, may not move and a church asking to keep their pastor may get a new pastor. See the above concerning matching gifts and needs. Then the Cabinet, as they are called, deals separately with each church, looking at the profiles completed by the SPRC committees, and work to find the pastor whose gifts will fulfill the needs of that church. Then the pastors are told where they are projected to go and the SPRC committees are told who they have planned to appoint to their church, and each decides to accept that appointment or ask for reconsideration. Now, I am sure that has made the process abundantly clear to you, but know it is done with much prayer, much discussion, and with the benefit of everyone in mind.
Please check out the information shared in this newsletter concerning Rev. Fleming and his wife. Please be in much prayer for them as they transition and much prayer for our church as you transition. Make every effort to be as supporting and helpful to your new parsonage family. Do not compare him to Mike or Mark, he is neither Mike nor Mark, he is Howard. Celebrate his gifts and what he brings to our church and give thanks to God. Make yourself part of the ministry team and work together in ministry to our community. Take a few minutes and write a note of welcome to them. I cannot tell you how meaningful that is to a pastor and family as they come into a new church.
Rev. Howard and Donna Fleming
9 Lakeside Ave.
Granite Falls, NC 28630