My family and I have some exciting news to share. Several days ago, my bishop called me to say that he was appointing me as the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Springdale, Arkansas. First Church in Springdale is a vibrant congregation whose witness is shown in worship, discipleship formation, and community outreach. In fact, after hearing about the church from the bishop, district superintendent, and the S/PR committee chairman, I was amazed at the sheer number of exciting things going on there!
This new appointment means that I will have to say goodbye to the wonderful community at Memphis Theological Seminary, where I have taught for the past four years and served as the director of the Methodist House of Studies. Emily and I, and our kids, will also be leaving our friends at Marion United Methodist Church, whom we love dearly and who have embraced us with care and support over these past few years. We have made the town of Marion our home during the time I’ve served on the faculty of MTS, and we have found it to be a great place to live. Taking our leave of it will be difficult because of the people whose lives we have shared here.
We also know that there’s another community — nestled up in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas — that is filled with wonderful people as well. The city of Springdale will be a great place to call home, and Springdale First Church represents a wonderful opportunity for ministry. We’ve got a few months before we will pack our bags and begin this new chapter in our lives, but that just means that we’ve got time for the excitement and anticipation to build. I’ve already received calls and emails from congregation members and church staff from Springdale, which is a testament to the kindness and hospitality of the folks there. We can’t wait to meet them in person!
Note: Photo credit on the featured image above goes to Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers of NW Arkansas. See their homepage here.