Staff

Pastor

Kathleen Haynes

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     Hello everyone! I’m your new pastor, Rev. Kathleen W. Haynes, but feel free to call me Pastor Kathleen or just Kathleen.

     The first Sunday in July, when I will be meeting many of you for the first time, I will also be marking the 20th anniversary of my first Sunday in the pulpit. I began my ministry as a 22 year-old, freshly graduated from college and not yet having begun seminary. I had four small/tiny churches in rural Georgia. It was a lot of firsts for me. First time living in Georgia, first time preaching, first time leading churches full of people as old or older than my grandparents. Oddly enough, I wasn’t scared. Oh, I was very, very nervous, but I was so sure of the calling that God had placed on my life, so certain that I was exactly where I was needed that I jumped into that first Sunday whole-heartedly.

     There have only been two years since then that I haven’t been responsible for congregations. The first was six months after my husband, John, and I married. We moved to England for the year, taking a break from seminary for John to be a part of a preaching exchange program. That year I was wife and cook, gardener and relearned how to knit but other than the time we were traveling, I was bored. I missed my churches. I missed my calling. I was more than ready when we came back to pick-up where I left off, miraculously (for United Methodists) returning to the same four churches as before. Returning to my churches, I felt more confident than ever that I knew what I was doing. Of course, during that time I was faced with some interested challenges amongst the churches that I had no idea would come up. But God lead me through them and I certainly learned a lot!

     In each new appointment I’ve learned new things... how to love people I had issues with, how to lead through times of growth and prosperity, how to lead through times of struggle and scarcity, how to humbly accept help, how to say hello and goodbye, and how important it is to be kind and gentle, especially with oneself.

     I come to you now after finishing my second year of non-ministry life. I took the year to care for my parents, namely my father who has, Multiple-Myeloma, a cancer of the blood. Much to our surprise and delight the year went very well and my father, who will be 71 in August, has returned to a normal, healthy lifestyle with the cancer in remission. So, in January, when I decided to return to ministry this summer I actually thought, “I know how to be a minister and lead a church! Ministry is never easy, but at least I know what I’m doing!” Famous last words, right?

     I can honestly say, that as we are entering these early days of re-entering group worship during a pandemic that we are all in the same boat. I have never done this before, you have never done this before, our denomination, our nation, and our world is newly experiencing this together. And though there are now what feels like dozens of new checklists and procedures and forms to ensure everyone’s safety just together and worship, I am still excited.

     I’m just as excited to meet all of you and begin preaching and teaching and leading and fellowshipping with all of you as I was that first Sunday 20 years ago. I am a little nervous, my brain is very full of regulations, I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to meet everyone. But I have even more certainty than I did all those years ago that I am exactly where I need to be, where God wants me. I’m also certain that together we will all grow in God’s love and grace as we face this new challenge together.

     I pray that God give each of you this same sense of assurance and that your worries about ‘Church in the time of COVID 19’ will slowly be met with the understanding that like all other times in our lives, God will guide us through this. We will learn a lot together and we will be stronger than any virus as we intelligently make our way forward with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

                                  —Pastor Kathleen




Secretary

Brenda Mitchell

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If you would like to add an event to the Church calendar, then please email Brenda.




Choir Director

Dr. Sue Boyd

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Dr. Boyd has been the beloved director of Relief UMC Choir since 1970. 




 
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