Dr. Steve Sumerel announces plans to retire at the end of May
As a congregation, we share in sadness at this change together with the love and deep appreciation for Steve and his ministry. If it was his desire, Steve could have many more excellent years of ministry with us, but we’re happy for he and Marie that they will be able to put so much energy into a season of retirement. We’re also grateful that he has given us some time to consider the best plans for continuing commitment to the areas of ministry to which he has devoted so much, especially Congregational Care, Christian Education, Prime Time and Sr. Adult Council, and our ministry to our homebound members. We’re grateful for Steve’s willingness to assist as we consider next steps to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. See below a beautiful letter from Steve, which reflects so much of the character of his ministry.
Dear First Baptist,
In 2010 this congregation graciously extended to me the invitation to come into the fellowship of FBC, Greensboro as the Associate Pastor for Adult Learning. It was my hope and my prayer that my service alongside this congregation would become a season of mutual growth and blessing, and that this congregation might become my faith family for the last leg of my ministerial career. I am before you now to let you all know that that prayer was answered beyond all my expectations, as I shall complete my service as your Associate Pastor of Congregational Life upon my retirement which will take effect at the end of May of this year.
I have many good and compelling reasons to retire in May. It has always been my desire to finish my career with a controlled safe landing, not a perilous crash with one engine or no landing gear. An inner voice (that still soft voice) that has always steered my course is telling me clearly that it is time to land and to land well. Marie and I have many plans to enjoy the retirement that we have so diligently prepared for over the years. We view this as time to continue to grow even more fully into the individuals and the couple that God envisions us to be.
Yes, there is still so much good and faithful work to be done. This is a truth that makes my decision difficult. But, there will always be good work that is not finished; completion of God’s work can never be the signal for the time to step down. And our faith affirms that God provides provision for those who continue the journey. I know I shall deeply miss being your minister. I shall deeply miss being a part of such a talented, dedicated and gifted team of ministers. Your love, your grace, and your dedication to the good work that we have been able to accomplish together have made my time with you a feast of blessings. So, I shall shed both tears of joy and sorrow as I move into this new chapter of my life. I shall carry the joy of our friendships and our fellowship with me as our journeys now take different paths.
My prayer for this congregation is that each of you will hold on to the truth I am coming to realize as I reflect on this, the last leg of my ministerial career. My life in ministry has allowed me to engage in many different areas of service, and I have worked alongside many wonderful people. But, God has a clever way of surprising us, and through my ministry with you I now know that God most often saves the best for last.
God bless you all,
For now, we take time to celebrate Steve. We will look to find ways of expressing our love and gratitude to he and Marie in the days ahead. We know Steve would appreciate your prayers and any words of support and love you want to offer (firstname.lastname@example.org).