From Our Pastor

Remembering Our Baptism

Posted 10 January, 2019 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

It is good to write this Pastor's Letter to you again! After some time off after Christmas and New Year's, I welcome God's gift of a new year and the many ministries he entrusts to us.

I especially welcome remembering our baptism this Sunday as we recall the baptism of Jesus. As we do so, we will share in the Congregational Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant offered by the United Methodist Church. This is an inspiring and powerful service reminding us of God's claim upon us and of the ministries in which we are united. We will be invited at this time to touch again the waters of baptism and recommit ourselves to the service of God. (I know there is threat of snow again this weekend - check the church Facebook page, website, or WDBJ channel 7 to see if our services of worship are impacted.)

Women of the church are invited to be a part of the women's study of Ruth beginning Tuesday at noon in the Uptown Ministry Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy faithful study and lively conversation.

We remember that last September, Maegan Mitchell, Director of Youth Ministries, resigned from First UMC. As the Staff-Parish Relations Committee of the church began to discuss how to move forward in addressing leadership of youth ministries, Annette Huckfeldt, Director of Children's and Program Ministries, shared with me her willingness to step aside from leadership of children's ministries if we were able to find someone who could lead not only youth ministries, but children's ministries as well. Annette's gracious offer thus allowed for combining two positions into one: Director of Youth and Children's Ministries.

So, in recent months, we have received many inquiries from persons interested in coming to First UMC in order to lead youth and children's ministries. One applicant stood out from the others, so members of a search committee first held a phone conversation with him. Impressed, we then invited him for a visit. Impressed again, we offered him the positon; he accepted.

The young man's name is Matthew Hoover. Matthew holds a degree in Religious Studies from Appalachian State University. He has impressive background with campus ministries and experience in the local church. Matthew has impressed us with his energy, his faith commitment, and his ability to relate to all ages.

Details are still being worked out as we engage in this time of leadership transition, but we hope Matthew (currently employed elsewhere) can attend the Souper Bowl on February 3rd. Please keep all parties in prayer as we seek to address the ministries God entrusts to us in the most faithful of ways.