Posted on June 29th, 2012
Pastor’s Column published in The Informer (FBC Newsletter for July 2012)
Dear Friends at Farmville Baptist Church,
With mixed emotions, I am writing to announce my resignation as pastor of Farmville Baptist. My last day at church will be Sunday, July 22, and we hope to move to Charlottesville sometime early August. As most of you know, on June 17, the congregation of University Baptist Church of Charlottesville, the church where I served as associate minister for close to nine years, voted to call me as their senior minister. While I am excited about this opportunity and this homecoming with friends, it is difficult to leave this church home, one also filled with close friends.
I want to thank you all for welcoming me, Beth, and the kids so warmly and sharing your lives with us for the past seven years. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving as your pastor. It has been a blessing to walk the journey of faith with you as we have worked and worshiped together. In my own family, you have supported me through many changes. In the words of Cecil Yeatts, you’ve “broken me in,” patiently guiding me in my growth from associate minister to pastor. Thea and Wes were seven and barely five when we arrived, and we appreciate your help over the years in teaching them Sunday School, directing their choirs, exposing them to missions, supporting their attendance at Passport camps, and much more. Beth has appreciated the ways you’ve been supportive and respectful, giving her the freedom to invest herself in ministry at the church without ever communicating to her that she is obligated to do so. When my parents-in-law moved to Farmville, you reached out to them, befriending them, visiting them, serving them the Lord’s Supper, and assisting with practical matters such as navigating stairs or repairing their car. All of us have felt supported by your prayers not only in times of illness or in moments of loss, but in our daily comings and goings.
In other words, even as I have ministered to you, you have ably ministered to me and my family, fulfilling the biblical images of being the body of Christ or the family of God. I know that my family is only one of countless many who have been touched by your prayers, service, and kindness. May God bless you richly in the months and years to come.
In Christ, Michael
Posted on June 1st, 2012
Pastor’s Column published in The Informer (FBC Newsletter for June 2012)
These past several weeks have been a season of graduations in our church and community. We saw many of our college students, including our own Liz Chassey and Ryan Yeatts, earn degrees. Carter Chassey and Charlotte Cave graduated with honors (both of them!) from Prince Edward High School and Fuqua High School. Last week, I attended the graduation ceremony at Prince Edward Middle School and watched with pride as my daughter Thea and Erin Copeland walked up the stage to receive their certificates. There were many joyful moments as parents, family members and friends proudly celebrated the accomplishments of these young people. On Sunday, June 3, we will have an opportunity as a congregation to honor and recognize our graduates at the end of worship.
As we celebrate with these young people the completion and end of a significant chapter in their lives, we also anticipate the dawning of a new chapter. Graduation is not just the end; it is also the beginning, the commencement of something new, something different, but no less important. For some graduates, the future is pretty certain: high school or college. For others, the future is still not too clear as they seek employment or acceptance from graduate schools. But in all these situations, we have faith that God will be with them, leading them every step of the way.
At the end of the book of Revelation, the apostle John recorded a vision of the Lord proclaiming, “Behold, I am making all things new!” God continues to be at work making things new, not just for these graduates, but for all of us, as we continue in our journey of faith. New chapters are constantly unfolding before us as each day contains the possibility of the commencement, the beginning of something new that God is doing. Some of those things may be eagerly anticipated; others not so much. But in all these situations, we have faith that God will be with us, leading us every step of the way with hope into God’s future.
So, as we recognize our graduates on their school commencements, let us also recognize that each day is the commencement of something new that God wants to make in each of our lives!
In Christ, Michael