Thank you for the special celebration last Sunday to mark my 10th year of Pastoral ministry at JPBC. The deacon body, of course, deserves special thanks for their arrangement of this event.
Thank you in particular for the special resolution of appreciation read before the church body in morning worship, for the wonderful meal of North Carolina Barbecue with all the fixings shipped in from Kinston, North Carolina, for the generous gifts, for the kind words of encouragement, and for the slide show, revealing how my hair has turned gray, how my waistline has expanded, and how my children have grown. Funny, however, how Llewellyn still looks the same as she did in 1997!
JPBC was constituted as a church in 1962. I am the sixth man to serve as Pastor in these past forty-five years, and I now hold the distinction of having the second longest pastoral tenure in our church’s history (John Herndon has the longest tenure, serving twelve years, from 1983-1995).
It is hard to believe that ten years have passed since we moved to Charlottesville and began to labor in this ministry. I praise God for all that has taken place in our church body under his sovereign hand in these past ten years. Indeed, we can agree that God has already done far more among us than we might have ever asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). What else might He be pleased to do among us in the future?
I should also mention my appreciation of other members of the church staff who have added to our church’s continuity. Evelyn Jones has served JPBC for over thirteen years (first as Secretary and since 2002 as Financial Secretary); Bonnie Beach has also been at JPBC for ten years (serving faithfully as a Preschool teacher, Rainbow House Director, and since 2002 as Ministry Assistant); Jo Pettitt has served us as a Church Musician since 2000; and Llewellyn Riddle has also been in our Preschool ministry since 2002, serving as Director for the past three years. Pastoral Assistant Marcus Deel is the new man on board, having joined us in June of this year.
As I noted Sunday, one of my growing convictions is that healthy churches need prolonged pastoral tenures. Thank you for calling me to the office of Pastor in this body, for upholding me in this charge, and for your kind and encouraging acknowledgement of this milestone in my tenure of service.
Of course, if anything of any lasting worth has been accomplished, to God alone be the glory!
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle