Having just taken my firstborn child to college to begin her freshman year, I am well aware right now of the mixed emotions that come with transitions. It’s exciting to move forward and it’s sad to say goodbye, with excitement and sadness both coming in equal measure at different times.
So it is at Providence. We are in the midst of several transitions within our church ministry team, with long-time staff members leaving us while new faces come on board. Some of these changes have been anticipated for quite a while. Some of them have come more suddenly. Understandably, the changes we expect are usually easier to deal with than the ones we don’t, especially when the unexpected changes bring pain to people we care about.
Providence is blessed with members who willingly volunteer their time, talent, wisdom, and compassion to make prayerful—and sometimes really difficult— decisions about how best to use the resources God has given us to do ministry and missions together in the name of Jesus. Because we are a Baptist church, we rely on one another to provide leadership for ministry committees. We call one another to serve; we give one another tasks to perform to further the church’s mission; we trust one another to act in the best interests of the church; we commit ourselves to supporting one another in this work; we hold one another accountable. And somehow, by the grace of God flowing through the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ lives—and we get to be a part of it.
Thus far in 2020, our Finance and Personnel Committees have wrestled with challenging issues and made hard decisions. They’ve done so after a lot of prayer and discernment. They’ve done so with a great deal of integrity and humility. They’ve also been creative, forward-thinking, and proactive. They’ve done good work and deserve our thanks.
That said, what about those aforementioned transitions?
First, we welcome aboard Katelyn DeVane as Director of Activities Ministry. You can read more about Katelyn on page 14, but she is a bright, energetic, and conscientious leader who will work with our Activities Committee and be a valuable addition to our ministry team. Katelyn’s arrival comes on the heels of Brandon Whitener’s departure in June, as he took a position closer to home with the Dallas (NC) Parks and Recreation Department.
Second, we are saying goodbye to Dianna Neil, who is retiring this month after 21 years of service in our kitchen. She has cooked countless outstanding meals for grateful Providence people and loads of hungry weekday children. Her can-do spirit and dedication to her craft will be missed. Happily, stepping into Dianna’s apron will be a familiar face: Deb Motsinger, who has prepared our Wednesday night suppers for years. Deb will start running our kitchen this month. Once the pandemic is behind us and we resume Wednesday night suppers, she will add “feeding us on Wednesday” to her list of responsibilities as our Church Chef.
Third, we are getting ready to say goodbye in October to Rocky Cannon who has served as Facility Manager for 10 years—and, for the last two years, as our interim church administrator as well. Knowing that Rocky’s retirement was imminent, the Personnel Committee took a fresh look at our staff structure in January. The goal was threefold: To create a structure that met our current needs, was appropriate to our current size, and could be supported by our current level of giving.
After months of study and discussion, the Personnel Committee unanimously approved a new name for our Church Administrator position—now called Director of Church Operations—with direct responsibility over human resources and facilities, and supervisory responsibility over communications, food service, finance, and technology. (You can see a revised organizational chart for the Providence ministry team on the next page.) I anticipate that this position will soon be filled, well before Rocky’s retirement date, to allow for a smooth handoff of duties. While these revisions are necessary, they do not come without a cost. In the revised structure, the positions of Human Resource Manager and Media/Technology Manager are phased out, which means that Beverly Tucker and Jim Tucker will be leaving us later this month. This is a sad goodbye, for the Tuckers love Providence and have been dedicated employees, dependable colleagues, and dedicated servants of this church for the past 17 years.
Because of your faithful giving so far in 2020, we are in a position to assist the Tuckers as they transition to their next jobs. That’s a good thing. And for those of you who want to send your own expressions of gratitude to Jim and Beverly—and to Dianna as well—information about how to do that can be found on page 15.
Change is never easy. If it was, we wouldn’t be so resistant to it. The good news, though, is that God promises to be with us—both as individuals and as a congregation—as we move from where we are to where God is leading us. It is a privilege to serve alongside fellow Christians—and faithful leaders—who do not shy away from challenges.
May the peace of Christ be with you!