In the same way, I urge you who are younger: accept the authority of the elders. And everyone, clothe yourselves with humility toward each other. God stands against the proud, but he gives favor to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

My wife and I moved to Florida in the summer of 2018. I had been appointed as Associate Pastor at a church in Maine until then, and began trying to transfer to the Florida Conference before we left. However, transfers between conferences don’t always go smoothly. Dr. Sam proposed hiring me as an Assistant Pastor, assuming I’d soon be approved by the Florida Conference. I was finally appointed by the Bishop as Associate Pastor in 2022.

I thank Dr. Sam for his trust and faith in my abilities to be a positive part of First UMC, and for allowing me to grow and try new things while here. In addition to taking over the duties of the former Marketing Director, I was able to start the GriefShare ministry, bring the Ukrainian Support Group to our church, and begin a school partnership with Gocio Elementary. I also performed pastoral duties and kept things going during the senior pastor’s vacations and retreat. I have learned and done things during this time which will help me in my new role as senior pastor at my new church in Bradenton, and I am humbled by the love and acceptance shown me by the congregation.

May we all find people willing to guide us in our faith journey and beyond.

– Pastor Woody