With an approval rate of 98.6%, the congregation voted on Sunday, January 21, to accept the recommendations of the Pastoral Interim Committee which included employing Rev. Jim England to serve as our Interim Preacher and to recognize Rev. Nina Maples as Senior Pastor. We believe this structure will serve the church well as we begin a season of change. At Sunday’s services, Joe exhorted us to “look forward” and as we do that, please know that while we don’t know yet what our future holds (do we ever?) we know that we continue our journey together.
Some at Highland have known Rev. Jim England for many years, others have never met him. So, let me share a bit about Jim for those who don’t yet know him. Jim currently serves as a pediatric chaplain with Hosparus where he specializes in offering care to children and their families. He has served three churches as pastor, including Deer Park Baptist Church. Over the years, Jim has also served as Interim Pastor for a number of congregations, including Highland where he was the Interim Pastor at the time we called a guy named Joe Phelps. Jim is looking forward to serving Highland again in his new capacity as Interim Preacher/Pastor. I refer to Jim’s new position with us as Interim Preacher/Pastor for two reasons: 1) Jim’s primary responsibilities will involve preaching and participating in worship planning, and he will do this in a part-time capacity; and 2) In whatever role he is in, Jim is a pastor and his manner can best be described as pastoral. So, while Jim’s most visible role will be as “preacher” in our weekly worship services, he will be another of our pastors. I know you will enjoy getting to know Jim.
Please watch for opportunities in the near future where we will begin as a community of faith to gather together to talk about this time in the life of our church, our dreams, hopes, and challenges. In anticipation of those gatherings, I would ask you to continue to discern how we can all be supportive of our ministers and lay leadership during this time of transition. ~ Roy Fuller, Chair, Pastoral Interim Committee