I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4:6-7)

Paul writes to his protégé Timothy about his coming to the end of his ministry. We know that Paul was martyred for his faith.

I am grateful that the end of active ministry for a United Methodist minister is not so dramatic or demanding. There is mandatory retirement at age 72. I will be within six months of that on June 30, 2024. That will be my last day as an appointed United Methodist elder. I am so grateful to have served this congregation and the others before FUMC. I have not quite finished my race yet. I plan to finish strong these last six months before I cross the finish line.

Rev. Dr. Debbie Allen met with our Staff-Parish Relations Committee in September. She will represent FUMC to Bishop Berlin and the Cabinet as they prayerfully discern who to send to First Church as the next senior pastor.

In the United Methodist system, the bishop appoints pastors for a year at a time. I am grateful to have been appointed to FUMC eight times. United Methodist congregations accept the clergy that are sent. (Thank you for graciously welcoming and accepting me.) Pastors agree to go where we are sent. So, the system works.

SPRC and I will do everything possible to make a smooth transition. SPRC will inform the church (probably in late April) whom Bishop Berlin will appoint to follow me as senior pastor. I know you will welcome and accept her or him.

In the meantime, we still have work to do. Thanks for all the ministry each of you does every day!  Have a blessed 2024!

Dr. Sam