You all at Cullowhee UMC were integral in my calling into ministry. CUMC was always a kind of dream appointment in my mind, a kind of model. In fact, in a district committee on ordained ministry meeting years ago, my first district superintendent asked me what kind of church to which I would like to one day be appointed. My answer: “Anywhere I can chop some wood.” He remembered that answer when appointing me to Friendship-Shady Grove. And while I sang in the choir at Cullowhee, chopped some wood here, and attended the Wesley Foundation back during my college days, I never would have thought that I would be given the opportunity to serve among you in the capacity of an elder. It is truly an honor to be your next pastor. Molly and the kids are also very excited. The move will be difficult of course, given the close relationships we made in Connelly Springs, and the distance we will be from family, but to come to Cullowhee and reconnect with you here, is a great privilege and blessing.
While I have not been in prison like he was when he wrote these words, Paul’s words to the Philippians also summarize my feelings toward you all in Cullowhee: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart…(Philippians 1:1-7).” I hope you have a good summer and I can’t wait to be among you again.