Dear Church,

Over the past four-and-half years, there are a number of things that I have come to love about our church. First, I continue to be amazed by the way our people are committed to Jesus Christ. We are a community that truly seeks to live out the Greatest Commandment. Another thing I love I love is the fact that every single Sunday we have multiple new guests who attend our worship services and then want to connect deeply with this church. It’s a beautiful thing to see how many new people are coming into the life of our church during this time. I could go on and on about the things that endear our church to me, but there is something in particular that I want to mention today.

I don’t think I ever realized how much I would love our shared meals in the Fellowship Hall. Whether it was Wednesday night supper or a lunch after church on Sunday morning, I love those moments when I am able to make my way to tables and catch up on the lives of our people. The conversation around the tables was always lively and the meals we shared were always excellent! It makes my heart glad to know that our meal services will begin again in the month of August. I know you are thrilled as well. With that being said, there is one element of our meals that will be different when things resume in a few weeks. The food will be excellent, although it will now be prepared by a different chef. Yes, after being a part of the First Baptist Church for roughly twenty years, Chef Stephen Childress has announced his retirement. We have known that this was coming for some time now, although we hoped that it was later rather than sooner!

Stephen’s last day with our Church is July 31, 2021. While I am sad to see him leave our staff, I am thrilled that Stephen is now able to step away from his work and enjoy his retirement. In next week’s Interpreter, I am excited to introduce you to our new chef. He is a wonderful guy and I am confident you will love him in much the same way you love Stephen. But today, I simply want to say “Thank You” to the man who makes the best Prime Rib I have ever eaten! Stephen, we are grateful for all your years of service at FBC. You have been a fixture at First Baptist and please know that we’ll miss seeing you around campus throughout the week.

Friends, if you see Stephen around campus over the next week and a half, please make sure to let him know just how much you appreciate what he has meant to all of us here at the First Baptist Church of Augusta.

I hope to see you on Sunday as we take a look at how Jesus conquers the chaos of our lives.

Grace and Peace,