Hello Church Family:
By now, it probably is not news to you that on Sunday, September 12, 2021, I informed the church after worship service that I will retire as pastor on March 31, 2021. As I said then, I am not leaving because of any known health issue, church problem, or conflict, but simply feel strongly that God is leading me to this decision. To this end, I have been meeting with the Personnel Committee and Deacons since June and support them in recommending we begin a transition to consider Pastor A.J. Reynolds as the next pastor. The transition means that the church will begin to make several staff adjustments to prepare for a new pastor. These adjustments include hiring a secretary (office manager), a part-time music minister, and a youth/children pastor. In accordance with our church constitution, our church voted to start this process on September 22. We will need to vote again sometime early in 2022 to consider a call to Pastor A.J. The transition is effective October 1, 2021. During this time, I will remain the pastor. A.J. will remain the Associate Pastor. Pastoral ministry will remain the same.
I announced this decision early to allow the church adequate time to make a smooth pastoral transition. Debbie and I love this church dearly and want the best for you in the future. I ask that you prayerfully consider these decisions and take part in the vote to call Pastor A.J. early in 2022. Please do not hesitate to contact Ronald Watts (chairman of deacons), Missy Moore (chairperson of personnel), or me if you have any questions on these important decisions.
Our deacons met Sunday, September 19, and decided to further postpone our homecoming celebration scheduled for October 10. We all felt the risk outweighs the benefit as COVID cases continue to rise in Stokes County. In addition, they decided to postpone restarting monthly fellowship meals and the Heritage Apartment outreach, also scheduled for October. We are continuing in-person Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Wednesday evening Bible studies, and SONquest activities (with masks). However, we are delaying any additional start-ups until the virus situation stabilizes. I appreciate everyone’s on-going patience as we balance safety with a desire to return to normal activities.
The P.M.B.A. is sponsoring a men’s dinner on Monday, November 8, 2021, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the First Baptist Church of Stanleyville, 851 Ziglar Road, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27105. The speaker for this event is Lieutenant General (Retired) William G. (Jerry) Boykin. The event will involve a meal and worship music by “Chosen Road.” LTG (Ret) Boykin was in the Army for 36 years, was one of the original members of the elite “Delta Force,” and served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in his last four years. He is an ordained minister, and currently serves as the Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President. I am sure men will enjoy this event and strongly encourage your attendance. Tickets for the event are $15, which include the meal and a benefit for “No Greater Love Foundation” which supports “recovery, resiliency, and renewal of Spirit for our nation’s military warriors and families.” Please let Pastor A.J. or me know if you would like to attend this event.
I wanted to let you know that Pastor Jeff Stevens, the pastor of Enon Baptist Church in Yadkinville passed away quite unexpectedly on Sunday September 5, 2021. Many of you may knew Jeff from his pastorate at Germanton Baptist Church. I counted Jeff as a friend and will certainly miss his wise counsel. I ask that you pray for Jeff and his young family as they reel from this loss.
Finally, COVID continues to make its unwelcomed rounds in our church, church family, and through our day care. I ask that you pray for our folks (and others as well) to recover quickly and return to normal activities. We look forward to an end to this situation!
Rev. James A. Cohn