"I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:19)
If you attended worship this past Sunday, you'll know that along with sharing our “REACH” commitments, we also shared the name of my successor. If you weren’t there, allow me to catch you up: I am both pleased and excited to announce that the new Senior Pastor of East Cobb UMC will be Rev. Nanci Hicks. Her first Sunday with you in worship will be June 28th.
Nanci will be coming to you from Briarcliff UMC in northeast Atlanta, where she has served as Senior Pastor for the past two years. Before that, she served as interim Pastor of Sacred Tapestry UMC here in Marietta (on Johnson Ferry Rd.), as Senior Pastor of Mossy Creek UMC in Cleveland, GA (where her church, like East Cobb UMC, was connected to a Camp Meeting ministry), as Director at an area Christian Retreat Center, and as Associate Pastor of Roswell UMC. She and husband Steve have grown children.
Over the next month, she and I will be working closely together to ensure a smooth leadership transition. However, since Nanci will not only be the first female Senior Pastor in our church’s history (although we’ve had multiple female Associate Pastors), and since the process of changing pastors may be new to many of you, part of that transition will include me sharing sermons and newsletter articles over the next month to remind us all of the biblical and practical reasons both for women as clergy leaders, and for our United Methodist “itinerant” system (the system whereby we rotate pastors).
For those who’ve not yet experienced either having a female Senior Pastor or any kind of pastoral change, I invite and encourage you to please give both a try before making hasty judgments or decisions. Both can (and I believe will be) great blessings if you’re willing to stretch (to REACH) beyond what you’ve been comfortable with before in order to experience the “new thing” God has in store for you through your new leader. Even though it may be challenging, don’t miss the opportunity to grow and mature as a believer through this transition!
In the meantime, the work of God’s church here at East Cobb UMC goes on without missing a beat! Yes, be in prayer both for Nanci and myself as we prepare for this transition, and be in prayer for yourselves that you would be open to what God would do through it. But at the same time, continue the great work of God’s church here at East Cobb UMC: pray; worship; serve; study God’s word; give your tithes to the ongoing church ministry fund; and (if you haven’t already) make a three-year financial commitment of your “offerings” (that which is over-and-above your tithe) to our “REACH” capital journey so that East Cobb can fulfill its vision from God! (My wife and I have already made ours -- won’t you do so, as well?) [Click HERE for a digital REACH commitment card if you’ve yet to turn one in]
Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!