Sunday, March 27, 2011

Derek's Call to Columbia, SC

At the end of the evening service tonight (March 27, 2001), I made the following announcement pertaining to Derek Thomas' call to First Presbyterian Church (ARP), Columbia, SC.

This morning, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC voted to call Derek Thomas to be their Associate Minister, working alongside his longtime friend, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. Derek has accepted this call and, pending the approval of his new presbytery and his transfer by ours, is due to begin his work there on June 1, just a little over two months hence.

Derek has served us as Minister of Teaching since August 2, 1999. These almost twelve years have been an extraordinary blessing to our whole congregation, and to me. I have known Derek Thomas for almost half my life. He is a faithful and esteemed colleague, he is one of the great preachers of our time, he has been to me “that friend who sticketh closer than a brother,” and he has been my pastor for more than a decade.

Derek and I have been praying and talking about this for many weeks now. I told him that, selfishly, I wanted him to be here with us, but that, even more, I wanted him to do whatever he thought the Lord was calling him to do, and that I would be fully and unreservedly supportive, no matter his decision.

And, I am, my dear friend.

No one here tonight or in our congregation will miss you more than I will. So also no one is more delighted for you in this new calling, or more overjoyed at the thought of what the congregation of First Columbia is going to receive in and through you.

Derek and Rosemary will continue their life and ministry among us for some weeks ahead, so there is no reason for us to try to say goodbye tonight. We simply wanted you as a congregation to know, and not to learn of this second-hand. We will have an opportunity, as a congregation, in May, to express our love and appreciation to Derek and Rosemary.

Good evening, beloved friends.

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