When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step off into the darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly. -- Barbara Walters
|Conference staff who are retiring or taking another appointment are feted during a luncheon at the Florida United Methodist Center. Photos by Susan Green.|
LAKELAND – With whimsy, wit and platefuls of croissants, the Florida Conference staff bid farewell Wednesday to long familiar faces that will soon make their way around another bend in the path to discipleship.
Retiring after more than 40 years of ministry each are Rev. Charles "Chuck" Weaver, assistant to the bishop, and Rev. Dr. Mont Duncan, executive director of New Church Development. Also retiring is Dr. Phil Maynard, director of Congregational Excellence.
Also leaving the conference are Beth Knox, administrative assistant to Weaver, and Rev. Rick Bennett, who has been interim director of Justice and Outreach Ministries for more than a year.
Taking on a new appointment as lead pastor at Memorial UMC, Fernandina Beach, is Rev. Beth Fogle-Miller, director of Connectional Ministries. Dr. Jeff Stiggins, executive director of Congregational Excellence, will take the helm of First UMC, Vero Beach. Rev. Kim Griffith will move from her position as associate director of New Church Development to the Griffith Coaching Network.
Rev. Emily Oliver, associate director of Clergy Excellence, has accepted an appointment to Skycrest UMC, Clearwater.
All changes take effect at Annual Conference next month.
|Mont Duncan, standing with wife Martha Gay by his side, talks about his early days at the Florida Conference.||Beth Fogle-Miller talks about how her work at the Florida Conference office will serve as a bridge to her next appointment at Memorial UMC, Fernandina Beach.||Charles "Chuck" Weaver is among longtime conference ministers retiring this summer.|
Several staff members, along with Bishop Ken Carter, shared memories of how their colleagues had left a mark on the conference.
Rev. Dr. Wayne Wiatt, East Central District superintendent who will soon become the executive director of Clergy Excellence, remembered serving on a committee with Fogle-Miller and listening to pastors give sermons on cassette tapes, then videotapes, then DVDs.
"Time marches on," he said.
The luncheon was arranged by the Florida Conference Human Resources Department. In honor of those retiring after so many decades of service, Florida United Methodist Center receptionist Starlene Rouse decorated the center's third floor with vintage items from her father's work career as a Pentecostal preacher. Books on theology served as table centerpieces, as well as an antique Underwood manual typewriter on which her dad typed his first sermon.