Dear ABC/Ohio Pastors, ARMS, and Member Congregations:
(March 2018) I am writing a letter I never imagined I would be writing, yet the premature passing of our Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones, has left the Region without an Executive Minister. It was truly a blessing to know Dr. Jones as both a colleague and friend. I, along with the entire ABC/Ohio family grieve this loss, and will pray for Denise and the entire Jones family in their grief. We pray for God’s comfort and strength as they discover what lies ahead in their new chapter of life. Dr. Jones and Denise will always be a part of the ABC/Ohio family.
As I begin this ministry as your Interim Executive Minister, I want you to know that I do so knowing that the Region is in a season of transition, and my role as an Interim is to guide the Region through the transition as you seek God’s direction towards calling a new Executive Minister. While the position of Interim Executive Minister is temporary, there are specific things that I plan to focus on.
First, and foremost, due to the nature of this transition, with the passing of Dr. Jones, I will provide leadership and pastoral care to the Region Staff, Board of Region Ministries, ABC/Ohio clergy, and congregations. The Region needs a time of God’s grace to walk through the season of grief and experience God’s healing. It will take time and include opportunities to express our grief, and discover God’s new direction for our life together. This pastoral care will receive my top attention.
My first three months call for two days per week. I plan to have one set day per week to be in the ABC/Ohio Office in Granville. This will be Monday. The second day will be a flexible day to accommodate the Region calendar and opportunities to connect with pastor’s fellowship groups, and other gatherings. I hope to connect with as many of you as possible in this transition season. You are always welcome to call me at the Region office, 740-587-0804, or contact me HERE. I plan to communicate with you regularly to keep you up to date with the Region’s progress.
I also will be working with the Region Staff, Board, and Executive Committee to address the most pressing needs as the Region moves forward. I appreciate the confidence expressed by Rev. James Willis, Region President, and the ABC/Ohio Board in extending the call to be your Interim Executive Minister. I look forward to sharing ministry with the Region Staff, Rev. Jane Gibbons, Rev. Mark Click, and Mrs. Leslie Hoskinson. They have carried a heavy load the many months of Dr. Jones illness. Together we will serve the Lord and the Region. We will walk by faith in serving Christ and you.
I close by asking that you covenant to pray for me, and this beloved Region in your prayers as ABC/Ohio is “Discovering God’s Plan.” Remember God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, which say, “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hop and a future.” Let us prayerfully discover the future together.
Rev. Dr. Lawrence O. Swain
Interim Executive Minister