It was a wonderful but bittersweet service this past Sunday. It was a great blessing to end my time here by celebrating the sacrament of holy communion with you. I am very grateful to Martha Frances Monroe, who actually wrote her own arrangement of the prelude music for this service, to our Chancel Choir and to my wife and daughter for their special music. Lastly, we were blessed at the 8:45am service to witness Caroline King profess her faith in Christ! She also then joined the church and will later attend the Confirmation Class next year. It was a great encouragement to us to be blessed by so many of you who stayed after the services to speak to us and it was a very special Sunday indeed.
My family and I have been very blessed to be your pastoral family. We have shared in much ministry together, have experienced some struggles along the way and have seen the Lord do many incredible things through our church family. Our children have served locally, nationally and internationally through this church. Two of our children were confirmed in their faith through this church family. We are grateful to Amanda, Kristen, Wes and Greg for how they have blessed our children and to our church staff for how they have blessed me, my ministry and our church family in my seven years here. And let me say again how incredibly thankful my family is for the many ways in which you all have celebrated us as we are leaving.
As I said in our services this past Sunday, when my family moves on June 14, I will no longer be your pastor. It is hard to say that but every pastor in transition reminds their congregation that their role with them will significantly change. I am very encouraged by the Bishop’s appointment of Rev. Tim Prather to FUMC New Albany and you all will be greatly blessed by his leadership, preaching and pastoral care. And I do not want, nor should any former pastor desire, to get in the way of any of that. You all know this but I need to say that he will be your pastor and bless and help you through the needs that you have for life situations as well as for funerals and weddings.
God bless you and this church for what you have done and will continue to do for the Kingdom. Please do your best to be present in the coming weeks and to catch up on your giving so we can build momentum for our new pastor. Stay forever in the Light; never lose sight of the Way.
Rev. Barry Male, Jr.