Pastor’s BLOG

New Pastor Elected!

At our congregational meeting on Sunday, June 26, Rev. Jon E. Martin was elected by unanimous vote, 99-0, to serve as the next pastor of First Presbyterian Church.
Originally from northern California, Rev. Martin comes to us by way of Abingdon, Virginia. He and his wife Susanne, who is also a Presbyterian minister, have two grown children, Katherine, a college graduate who is working as a video game artist in Los Angeles, and Jonah, who will be a sophomore at UNC-Charlotte. They also have a golden retriever.
In 2019, Rev. Martin was commissioned in the United States Navy Reserve and presently serves as the Chaplain to a Marine Reserve Battalion based in Pasadena, California. He started his working life as an aerospace engineer just out of college, but has been a pastor for twenty-four years.
Rev. Martin has worked with every age group in the church and has been very actively involved in the ministry and life of the church as he has served. He has both led and stepped back to allow others to lead. In his profile, he notes, “Young adults are spiritual, and I want to understand how they value faith and service. God has a place for them in the church, and I want to discover how the church can be a place for them to thrive. I appreciate that they have much to teach me, as they take a greater leadership role in the leadership of the church.”
We are looking forward to learning, working, and ministering alongside our new pastor! His first Sunday with us will be August 21st. If you were not able to be present for the congregational meeting and wish to know more about Rev. Martin, you may pick up a copy of his profile at the church office, or you may contact the office (336-248-2140 or to have one mailed to you.

A Hope-Holding Time

Dear Friends,

This is my final letter to you, and it is filled with Thanksgiving.  Thank you for a wonderful Sunday together. The opportunity to ordain and install new officers was a joy for me. I give thanks for the Session leadership over these past 20 months. Your elders truly love God and care about this church and its people.  I know that the new class will only enrich the ministry that God has already begun in you.

Thank you for the send-off at the end of the service. I love the church ornament.  Chris and I have a nice collection of this style ornament from the places we’ve been. It will fit right in on our tree and bring wonderful memories of my time with you. The lattice pottery plate is beautiful and will be another good reminder of the fellowship we have shared.

I also give thanks for a talented and supportive staff, Jeanna, Alma, Shelley, Ann, Regina, and Jane.  It has been a joy working with each of them. I know your new pastor will find them a blessing, too.  Be kind to them this summer as they work through yet another pastoral transition. Remind them how much you value them, and look for ways to show your appreciation. Offer your assistance and support. That goes a long way for church staff.
Above all, I give thanks to God who brought us together for this season in life.  As you anticipate the arrival of your new pastor, I hope you will continue to pray for this person and the transition they are making to answer God’s call and move to Lexington. So many details to take care of with the sale of a home, looking for a new one, and saying goodbyes to a beloved congregation where that pastor has been serving. This is definitely a Hope-Holding time, full of possibilities!  I will be praying for this church and your ministry as we all move forward in faith. 
Grace and peace,

Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer

Changing and Growing

Dear friends,
By now you may have received a mailing from me letting you know I have accepted a new call as an installed pastor to Circleville Presbyterian Church, in Circleville, Ohio. One of the hardest parts of Transitional Ministry for me is the short-term comings and goings to and from churches. It seems we just get to know each other and build relationships and then suddenly they come to an end.  One of the best parts of Transitional Ministry is I get to meet so many more people and hear the stories of their walk with God!  I cherish the times we have shared together.  You have enriched my life and faith.
The church I will be serving is one that I’ve held close to my heart ever since I served as their Director of Christian Education for three years back in 1985-1988. I never, ever expected I would return as their pastor.  God has a funny way of keeping us connected.  On the evening that the PNC extended the call, they invited my husband Chris to Zoom with us.  Chris said to them, “You know, Nancy isn’t the same person she was 30-plus years ago.”  The committee chairperson replied, “Well, we should hope not!”  Then another member of the PNC quipped back, “The church isn’t the same, either!”
It was a good sign to know that we welcome the growth on both sides.  I rejoice in the ways I have developed as a person, as a pastor over the years, and I am glad to know that the Circleville congregation has been learning and growing, too! I look forward to discovering those changes and transformations as I begin there in July.  It makes me wonder about FPC, Lexington.  How would you describe your growth over the years?  It’s not really a “numbers” question, but a “discipleship” kind of question.  My hope is that you all will consider how God and the years of ministry (nearly 200!) together have shaped both your congregation and you as individuals who are beloved children of God.  That could be a wonderful conversation-starter for when you meet your new pastor!
My last Sunday with you is June 12th, and my last day in the office is June 16th.  Please hold me in your prayers, as I will hold you, as we move through this next season of transition.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer
Pastor Nancy’s last Sunday with us will be June 12. Following the worship service, we will have time on the front lawn for the church family to say their good-byes and give their well-wishes to Pastor Nancy. Please plan to join us.

Called to Live Easter Lives

Dear Friends,
Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  It is so good to be living on this side of the cross.  Even as we moved through the despair of Holy Week, with its betrayal, denials, and crucifixion of Jesus, we knew that Jesus would be victorious over death. We knew Easter was coming. That knowledge doesn’t necessarily remove the pain of the moment, but since we are Easter people, it certainly gives us hope and vision for our future.
We are called to live Easter lives at all times.  In fact, every Sunday is an Easter day for us to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from death.  It might be good to remind ourselves what that Easter living looks like.  Here are a few things that come to mind:
♥ Joyful hearts
♥ Trusting God with the future
♥ Expecting Jesus’ presence to be revealed in community
♥ Accepting our commission to be sent into the world as God sent Jesus to us
♥ Using our Spirit-given gifts to share in the ministry of this congregation as we seek to serve God together.
I know we are still in the midst of the pandemic, although we truly have appreciated the reprieve we’ve gotten the past month or so.
I know that spring means more time to spend outdoors and taking jaunts, and dealing with school year-end activities.
I know that summer trips are coming.
I know that you are weary of “in-between times,” that you are ready for a new pastor to get here yesterday, already!
I know that many of you are tempted to just wait until the new pastor is here to reconnect or get more involved.
However….there is still ministry to do right now! With the return of more activity in the church comes the need for more volunteers. 
♥ With Blake and Lynnae Benton moving, we are desperately in need of volunteers to help with the livestreaming of our 11:00 (10:00 summer) service and with sound and slides for the 9:00 service. 
♥ We could use some folks willing to serve as ushers, greeters, and building security people. 
♥ There are available Sundays for serving as a lay-leader,
♥ …and it would be helpful to have some adults ready to volunteer in the nursery when needed, such as for a memorial service or on a Sunday morning.  (Note that we have a Child Protection Policy and Nursery volunteers must undergo a background check.)
God has done so much for us through Jesus Christ.  What are we willing to give to God? Not as a payback, because we could never pay God back—but as a sign of our thanksgiving, trust, and desire to follow Jesus.
Please be prayerful this week in how you would like to serve through the church and let me or one of our Session elders know how you plan to share your gifts.
Christ is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!  Let us live Resurrection lives!
Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor