For the past eight months a group of people at my church (First Presbyterian of Ashland) have been conducting a search for an Associate Pastor. A few years ago, I served on the search committee for our pastor and I can tell you that it is not an easy task. First you have to determine what kind of person your congregation is looking for. Next, you sort through a multitude of files containing the information about the candidates for that position. When you whittle that group down to a reasonable number, you begin the process of interviewing the candidates on the phone. Then, you choose the top candidates to interview in person. Finally, if you are lucky, you choose the person you think is best and present him or her to your congregation. After that, the congregation must vote to accept or reject the candidate. It’s a long process and it takes quite a commitment on the part of the committee to see it through.
Today, our Associate Pastor Nominating committee presented the person who they unanimously selected to be our Associate Pastor. His name is Adam Walker Cleaveland and this morning he preached the sermon to the congregation. It was the first time that I had a chance to see Adam and I was looking forward to it.
Adam did a wonderful job this morning – with both the children’s lesson and the sermon itself. In delivering the message he was able to make the scripture real and relevant. He also shared a deeply personal story that mirrored the Bible story and was very moving. At the end of the service, there was a meeting and our congregation voted to ask Adam to join our staff and welcomed him with a standing ovation.
This morning I knew that Adam and his wife would be at our church. Though I did not know which way the vote would go, I was hopeful. And I thought this person deserves a pie either way. Now, perhaps an apple pie would have been a good fit (Adam, apple) but I did not have enough apples for an apple pie. Instead, I prepared a mixed berry pie for Adam and his wife Sarah. I want to extend to them my very best wishes and I hope that they are as excited about coming to our church as we are to have them.