From your pastor…
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me…. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ, you may be pure and blameless, having produced a harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1: 3-11, NRSV)
The apostle Paul could not have expressed it any better than the way he did, his love for one of his congregations. It is exactly how I feel. I am celebrating ten years of service as your pastor in June, 2019. It seems like yesterday that I went to supper with Debby Davis, the Council Chairperson, before meeting with the Algiers UMC Council for my very first time. Time has flown by, and I have loved every minute of it serving as your pastor. Please, let me count the ways that I have loved you and why!!
Some of you already have heard this before, but when two District Superintendents called me to meet with them at the Wesley Center in 2009, and they told me I would be appointed to Algiers and St. Matthews UMC’s, I threw up my hands and cheered in celebration. I had heard of Algiers UMC, and had visited a couple of times and met with the S/PPR committee as a representative of the Board of Ordained Ministry when Rev. Ray Varnado was in the provisional process, moving toward ordination. I love urban and diverse populations, and I felt that I would be right at home in Algiers. I was right! God was so good to me by sending me here!
When I saw all of the mission and outreach work that you did as a church, I was so happy to be a part of it all. JOY CLUB has been ministering to the needs of mature adults for many years. The nursing home ministry at Woldenberg had been in existence for eight years when I came, so now it is 18 years old. The Tap class was meeting since Katrina in the fellowship hall, and was a wonderful way to get exercise and to relieve stress. The musician, Alice Mayberry, was fantastic, and the choir was one of the best I had had the privilege of hearing in leading worship. The Mother’s Day Out was serving the needs of little ones and their families in the Algiers community. The GIVE AWAY was something I had never encountered before in a congregation, and it was an outreach and a way to serve the practical needs of people.
We have added some more ministries and outreach efforts since then, and one thing that impressed me so much was the willingness of the Lay Leader, Charlotte Hemard, and the Church Council to try new ideas and to implement them. I don’t remember being told no for any new idea I brought to the Council. Flexibility in leadership is a key to growth, I believe.
You have loved me so much, and I have appreciated the support for me as your pastor, and for my family, Jeff and John. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
With love always, Rev. Becky