For the past six years, Tina and I have had the magnificent privilege of serving you in the Senior Pastorate at St. Barnabas. During that time, you have become faithful partners in our mission and dear friends. On Sunday, February 21st, our Staff-Parish Relations Chairperson, Joe Dolkos, announced that effective July 1st, I have been appointed as the new senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Round Rock, Texas (a northern suburb of Austin, and the most southern congregation in the Central Texas Conference). I was both surprised and humbled to be asked to serve that congregation.
The new senior pastor at St. Barnabas will be the Rev. Dr. Virginia Bassford, known to those around her as Ginger. Her husband, Ken, is a great partner in ministry alongside her. Ginger has served with distinction for the past seven years as the North District Superintendent. She is an outstanding preacher, teacher, author and pastor, well-versed in equipping churches for ministry in this challenging generation. More than that, Ginger is a colleague and personal friend who has a great heart for Christ, a wonderful sense of humor and a deep love for people.
While it is an experience of loss and grief for Tina and me to be saying goodbye in a few months, there is thanksgiving that St. Barnabas will be in such capable hands. Just as importantly, I am excited for her to experience the amazing gifts of our congregation. You have this wonderful way of making the best use of the gifts of each Senior Pastor you have and compensating for our “ungifts” (you won’t find that one in the dictionary, but you know what I mean).
My last Sunday with you will be June 12th, as we will take a couple of weeks to rest up and celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Mike and Luther will “hold down the fort” for the following two weeks until Ginger takes over. So we have about 3 ½ months of transition – time to celebrate, firm up leadership and key ministries, prepare for the new senior pastor and share our love for each other. St. Barnabas has been the most enjoyable congregation we have served so far. We have shared many moments on “holy ground,” and we are forever changed because of your faith, hope and love.
Please be in prayer for both the Cottons and the Bassfords during this time, as well as for St. Barnabas UMC and First UMC of Round Rock.
Sincerely in Christ,
Will Cotton Senior Pastor and “Lame Duck”