Bridge Pastors – Jones & Neelly



The Session of First Presbyterian Church approved the FPC Staff Team’s recommendation to employ The Rev. Dr. Walter Jones and The Rev. Dr. Dick Neelly as co-ministers to fill the ministry gap until an Interim Pastor can be identified and called.

Jones will fill the pulpit or arrange for guest preachers and preside over the day-to-day operations of the church. Neelly with handle visitation and congregational needs. Both will essentially work for free.  Jones has asked that money designated for his salary be given to the church’s new Matthew 25 initiative.  Neelly has asked that he receive no remuneration.

Session members expressed gratitude to both retired Presbyterian USA ministers for their willingness to provide their expertise and guidance in the coming months until an interim pastor is named.

Working closely with our church are new Cherokee Presbytery General Presbyter Wilson Kennedy and Presbytery Ministry Transitions Team liaison Gale Sandlin, who met with the Session last Sunday, July 17th.  Both emphasized that the Presbytery will continue to work closely alongside our church until a new minister is called and in place, a process that, on average, takes a year to 18 months.

The Staff Team will serve as the Search Committee for an interim minister.  A duly-elected by the congregation Search Committee will seek a permanent minister. In accordance with the Book of Order, a timeline for creating and launching the work of this second committee has not yet been established, but Session members expressed the desire to move along as quickly as feasible to begin the search process.

Bridge Pastors – Jones & Neelly2022-07-27T09:39:34-05:00

Thank You – A Letter from Rev. Will Scott

Dear Friends in Christ,

It’s hard to sum everything up in a couple of words, but, for now, “thank you” will have to do. Our family are so grateful for your kindness and support these past weeks as we have prepared to say goodbye (not to mention your many kindnesses to us these past eight years). We will never forget the ways that you have welcomed us into your church and into your lives. We have grown as a family and as people thanks to your care, your help, and the many examples of faithfulness you have lived out as disciples of Jesus.

We always look forward to Sunday, but it’s hard to look forward to this one. We’re just grateful to have had these past years with you all, and one more week to celebrate the presence of God with us in Jesus Christ.

I’ll say more Sunday, but in this particular “goodbye” there are just a couple of things I need to mention. Beginning next week, I will no longer be your pastor—which means that I will not be able to visit you in the hospital, or conduct a wedding or a funeral, or lend any advice about the church’s future. Any future contact I have with the church will only be at the express invitation of the moderator or the clerk of session. This boundary is necessary for us to be able to separate appropriately so that your interim pastor and your next pastor will have ample space to get to know you without my presence intruding. So while I will always care for you and follow your church’s story with interest and prayer, I will not be able to do so as your pastor—just your friend.

For now, just know that I love this church and each of you. I pray that God will continue to move powerfully in all of your lives, “that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”






Thank You – A Letter from Rev. Will Scott2022-07-20T10:42:59-05:00
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