Friday, May 23, 2014

River Baptism

One of the things I've enjoyed about Covenant Community is doing outdoor baptisms. 

A lot of people don't realize that we United Methodists actually do baptize by immersion. It's not just for Baptists anymore. We probably still do most of our baptisms by sprinkling or pouring, but we will baptize by immersion if a person requests it.

At Covenant, a lot of people request it. So many that once or twice a year we do an outdoor baptism. This past Saturday we baptized a lot of the young people who were confirmed as church members the next day. 

We did the baptism in the Swannanoa River, behind the ABCCM Veterans' Restoration Quarters. AND BOY WAS IT COLD! The temperature on Saturday morning was in the 40s, and by the time of the baptism it had only risen to the low 50s. 

I'm sure glad Kevin Olrich, our director of Student Ministries, was there to assist me. First, I needed him to take my by the hand and drag me out into the freezing water. I don't think I could have forced myself to go out there! Then, I needed his help immersing people in the swift current. (The river had been swollen by the recent heavy rains.)

Despite the cold, it was a great day, and I'm really glad I got to be a part of it. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014


As of July 1, I will no longer be the pastor of Covenant Community Church. 

As I write that sentence, I am filled with emotion. Different emotions, all of them powerful. 

I'm excited about my new appointment to Main Street United Methodist Church in Kernersville, NC

But I'm also grieving as I prepare to leave one of the most wonderful churches I've ever had the privilege to serve. 

I'm extremely happy to be moving back to the Piedmont Triad area (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point) where my parents, Lorie's mother, my sister and her family, and our daughter Mary all live. 

But I'm sad to be leaving these beautiful mountains where I've spent many hours hiking, biking, and drinking in the wonder of God's creation. 

I informed the congregation of Covenant of this change through a detailed letter that explains how and why it came about. The letter also gives some information about our United Methodist appointment system. You can read it here.  

My last Sunday to preach at Covenant will be June 1. My first Sunday to preach at Main Street will be July 13. In between I'll be spending a week at the Davidson Clergy Center getting myself renewed, refreshed, and re-tooled. I'll also be attending the annual meeting of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.  

And in between those two things, I'll be packing and moving and trying to sell my house. 

One thing I must say--the people of Covenant have been WONDERFUL through all of this. Very positive, and very supportive. One more example of what a great church this is. 

I will miss you, Covenant.