Last Sunday announcements were made in each of our three worship services that your new senior pastor, effective July 1, will be Dr. Keith Turman, currently senior pastor at Skyland UMC in Asheville. Many of you know Keith. The Leadership Team will be sharing more information soon, so I won’t steal their thunder. I will have much more to say about Keith and the transition in the coming weeks, but for now I just want to say that I am convinced that Bishop Leeland, District Superintendent Randy Harry, and the rest of the cabinet have made an excellent appointment for First Church.
I remember conversation about Keith when I was on the cabinet, including when he was appointed to Skyland. Everything said about Keith’s leadership and about him as a person was positive. The cabinet at the time felt that Keith would “bless” the Skyland church, and, from what I have heard, that has happened in these last nine years. He is loved and respected there, and the church is thriving. I am confident that will be true here as well.
I anticipated all along that when the announcement was made, things would ”get real” very quickly. We’ve known this transition is coming for months now, but preparations for the transition are now shifting into high gear. Time is racing toward June 18, the final Sunday for Susan and me. People ask, “Are you getting excited?” and it’s not possible to answer with an unqualified Yes. That’s because, while there is some anticipation, there is also grief…grief over the knowledge that the relationship we’ve had for the past eight years is nearing its completion…grief over the loss of things that have been meaningful and precious for us.
So, I ask for your prayers for all concerned during this transition—for Keith and his family, for First Church and for Skyland Church, as well as other churches and pastors and their families in their own transitions, knowing that all experience grief as well as anticipation. And, of course, Susan and I covet your prayers as well.
There is great music ahead for us on Sunday. (There always is, of course, but this Sunday’s different!) The Music Makers will present their annual musical on Sunday morning at two services, one at 8:40 in the gym and the other at 11:00 in the sanctuary. (Note that the 8:30 service has combined with 8:40 for this Sunday.) Music Makers has over 100 children in its program—I don’t know how many will be there Sunday, but you will be thrilled, amazed, and inspired by what they have learned. Then at 4:00 on Sunday afternoon, the Community Chorus will perform in the sanctuary. This is always an outstanding musical event, as well as an outstanding community event, and we are blessed to have the wonderful space of our sanctuary to host these concerts.
First Church is an exciting place to be! We are blessed week after week by God’s presence in so very many ways. Music is one of the primary ways we worship and are inspired and formed in our faith. We have another fantastic musical Sunday this week!
See you Sunday,