Rev. Jeff Smith to retire in January

Folded hands over an open Bible

Friends and family of First Christian Church:

It is with both joy and sorrow that we share with you the news that, on January 14, 2018, our senior minister, Rev. Jeff Smith, will retire. We are excited for Jeff and Elaine as they prepare to take this next step in their journey, but, of course, we are also very sad to say goodbye to our dear friends. It will be difficult indeed to say farewell to the man who’s baptized our children, buried our loved ones, and seen us through so many blessings and sorrows over the last 18 years.

The next several months will be a period of great transition for our church family. We will be busy, of course, with the normal activity of this time of year in the church: congregational meetings, Thanksgiving, and the approaching season of Advent. We will also be working to prepare the church for Jeff’s departure and for the continuation of our ministry after he leaves.

How do we do that? We’ve already started, actually. The executive committee of the Board – which includes Board Chair Cathy Hamilton, Board Vice Chair Lisa Stoneking, Board Secretary Amanda Billy, and Board Treasurer Emily Madigan – met in October to discuss the path forward.

The first step we’ve taken is to create a transition committee, co-led by current Board Chair Cathy Hamilton and rising Board Chair Lisa Stoneking. This team is responsible for discerning the next steps for the congregation, including identifying guest pastors and, potentially, searching for an interim pastor. The transition committee meets weekly, and they will share their progress with the congregation through a variety of media, including this website, email, the newsletter, the bulletin, Facebook, and the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall.

Communication, consistency, and community will be more important in the coming months than ever. The Board, the transition committee, and church staff will be in regular communication with you. If you haven’t recently updated your contact information with us, please contact the church office to do that.

The first communication from the transition committee will be shared through email and on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts you’d like to share with the transition committee, please contact Cathy Hamilton or Lisa Stoneking, or reach out to anyone on the Board.

We look forward to seeing you at the congregational meeting this Sunday (November 19), the Thanksgiving meal on November 23, and the Hanging of the Greens on November 28. May God bless us all with wisdom and peace. Amen.

The Executive Committee of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)