2020 is a year of change for our church as we reinvent ourselves as part of our journey to better serve God. In the current pandemic, while we cannot meet together physically, we have by necessity adopted new ways to reach out to our members and the community using our website, Facebook, and video blogs and sermons – with thousands of views in the last month of our content on the church website and Facebook page. These are changes we will keep even when we can resume services at the church. And of course, each spring brings changes in pastor assignments throughout the United Methodist Church.
This Sunday across all of the North Georgia Conference, churches are announcing their pastoral assignments for the coming year. As I have reported to you previously, the revenues for our church have decreased significantly over the last year which put us in the position of not having the funds to adequately support an elder pastor. The Conference stepped in to provide significant funding to cover part of our pastor’s salary and benefits, while Rev. Casstevens took reductions in her overall compensation. However, this is a situation that cannot continue for either the church or Pastor Beverly, so it is clear that North Fayette simply cannot afford an elder pastor at this time. Therefore, I am here to announce today that Rev. Casstevens will be leaving us this summer to accept an assignment to another church.
We want to thank Beverly for her love, ministry, and service to our congregation over the last three years. We have done great things together and we know that she will continue to be a compassionate servant of God in her new church. We want her to know that wherever she goes, she will always be a part of North Fayette.
You are probably asking yourselves “what does this mean for North Fayette moving forward?” In our first Board meeting this year I said that 2020 would be a year of rebirth for our church. We know from Easter just last Sunday, that rebirth involves both endings and beginnings. So, while the transfer of Rev. Casstevens represents an ending of one era in our church life, we are preparing for a new beginning.
The Board is working with the District Superintendent on the appointment of a Local Pastor to North Fayette. From the very beginning of the Wesleyan Movement un-ordained ministers, now called “Local Pastors”, have been an integral part of the Methodist Movement and The United Methodist Church. A local pastor is a layperson or deacon, or a certified candidate for ordained ministry on their way to becoming an elder, who has successfully completed the Local Pastors’ Certification School, are approved by the Annual Conference, and then appointed to a church by the Bishop. Today more than one-third of United Methodist churches are served by local pastors and associate members, and that number is growing. We expect the District Superintendent to announce the appointment of a local pastor to North Fayette sometime in mid-May.
Change, while necessary, is sometimes hard. It is hard to say goodbye to a pastor, but we have a good and loving congregation with a committed leadership team ready to welcome our new pastor and to work together toward a bright future for North Fayette United Methodist Church.
Again our sincere thanks and best wishes to Pastor Beverly and may God bless us all in our new beginnings.
Yours in Service,
Steve Justice – NFUMC Board Chair 2020
Watch the video message and response from Rev. Casstevens