We are finally into summer mode around here. However, the beginning of our summer will be a hectic one. Our move date has been set for June 18th. The movers have been reserved and we have arranged to have the kid's play set moved.
Tuesday we drove up to Hiawassee with Ashlyn and Aaron to meet with some of the leaders of the church and to see the parsonage. It was a pretty drive and the kids were excited. We were greeted at the door by our new Staff-Parish Relations chairman and he introduced us to the church staff. They all seemed very excited and happy that we are coming. The church tour started quickly and the ladies took me straight to the nursery. They must have known how important that one room is to me. It is such a sweet little room with lots of toys and bright happy murals and colors. I was happy to see that we would not have to introduce Safe Sanctuaries to this church because they already have it in place. They even have a nursery pager system to contact parents when they are needed in the nursery as well as a TV monitor so that the volunteers can see and hear the service. I am ready to sign up for my turn on the rotation.
The music minister showed us around the choir room and the sound room. The church has a good bit of technology and I know that Sam is excited about learning to preach using Power Point. This is something he has never had the opportunity to do before. This does, however, require much more sermon prep! It will be good for him! The music minister shared with us that she is beginning to put together a praise band. She said she is putting it out there and waiting to see what talents emerge. I like her!
The youth minister showed us the youth room and was very proud to share that 4 years ago, they did not have a youth group and now they have 15 kids along with many professions of faith and re-dedications. It is obvious that he has a passion for Christ and the youth.
We did not get to talk to the administrative assistant too much, but you can certainly tell that she is good at what she does and Sam is looking forward to working with her.
After our tour, we drove out to the parsonage. I described it in my last post. By the way, that is Mrs. Pam on the front porch. She told me to just tell everyone that she is my maid. I love her sense of humor already. The house was built in 1984 and the church purchased it new, so it has always been the Hiawassee UMC parsonage. I wonder how many clergy families have lived there over the years? The yard is AMAZING. I forgot to take a picture from the porch view so I will do that the next time we go up. The house is big enough for us and has a lot of character. It looks bigger in person than this front porch photo. It is pretty dated and will need some work. The current pastor has been out of the house since November, but the church did not learn of his retirement plans until about 2 months ago, so they have just been doing basic maintenance. Once they heard they would be receiving a new family, they decided to wait and see what we needed or wanted done. The Trustees are painting the kid's rooms and the wood paneling in the den before we move in. Mom and I are going up June 1st to try to get all the wall paper in the bathrooms down. Sam, me, and the 3 older kids will go up when they have VBS and will paint the three bathrooms and maybe the master bedroom. I was able to call in the paint to the Sherwin Williams store up there and use my brother's family discount. They appreciated the 40% discount on all the paint and supplies.
|The kitchen has a whole other area not pictured. It's a separate eating area and our table fits.|
We are still trying to figure out where we are going to put the kids. The rooms up stairs are a little small. The room downstairs would easily fit the three boys. The master and 2 other bedrooms are on the second floor. I think the small rooms will be fine since they will have a play room and a school room. Their bedrooms will mostly be for sleeping.
Back in the day, parsonages where completely furnished. Pastors and their families just moved their clothes and personal belongings from church to church. This house does have some furniture, but they let me decide what to keep. That will not be much since we have a house full of our own stuff. They will be selling the rest of it to raise money for parsonage improvements.
|Kid's bedroom 1|
|Kid's bedroom 2 (the larger one downstairs)|
Kid's bedroom 3
|The school room|
As we get started on the packing, we grieve over the friends we are leaving, but look forward to building new relationships in our church and community. One thing that was obvious as we met a small part of the Hiawassee UMC leadership is that they are a praying, Holy Spirit-filled church. There is much to do in ministry in Hiawassee and we look forward to joining in with this congregation to build God's kingdom together.