Wow! Wow! Wow! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Our final worship service among you on May 19 as Senior Pastor and family was one for the ages. The service was exquisitely planned and led by the remarkable NAPC staff, and it truly was a magnificent service; what a joy to show up and preach my final sermon! The reception following the worship service was unbelievable! The food, the flowers, the videos, the jazz band, and most of all, the love, were more than we could have ever imagined! One of the reasons that Cynthia and I know that this is as good a time as ever for my release from call from our beloved North Avenue, is because of the strength, vitality, unity, creativity, and giftedness of the church’s leadership, as reflected in our staff and lay leaders, and as seen in the Christ-centered dynamism of our entire congregation. Jesus is indeed alive in our midst!
That worship service on May 19 was an amazing and incredible celebration of what God has done in and among the NAPC community over these past 22 years. We feel so privileged to have shared in such dynamic and transformational ministry and mission over these many years together. Thank you for celebrating me as your pastor. Next to being Cynthia’s husband, and father to our three children, serving you as pastor has been the highest honor and privilege of my life.
Over the past several weeks and months, you have celebrated our mutual ministry in Jesus Christ in wonderful ways, with special music (thank you Bryan and Josh), acclamations of gratitude, and in smaller gatherings of friends in Christ. Our last two Sundays with you, in particular, were icing on the cake! Honestly, neither Cynthia nor I can think of even one detail that we wished had been different. You exceeded our every expectation in your expressions of love for me and for us. We feel loved. We feel honored. We feel joy. We can only hope that you, too, feel loved and honored by us, and that you, too, find joy in what we have done together, by God’s grace.
One of the sweetest comments that anyone made upon hearing of my stepping down from NAPC came from one of our youth. This young woman said to Jessica Dart, Director of Youth Ministries, “What is Scott going to do? We are his people!” I love that she recognizes how important our congregation is to me at a very deep level. I love that she didn’t say, “What is the church going to do?” In other words, she knows deep down that NAPC is strong, vital, and spiritually alive in Christ and that God will provide for this church, as God has faithfully done so for 121 years.
“But what will Scott do?”
As per the policy of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, I will not participate in the life of NAPC for at least a year from the installation of the new Senior Pastor, to allow the Interim Pastor, and eventually a new called and installed Senior Pastor, to get established. Over time, I may be able to participate in the life of the congregation but only upon invitation of the Moderator of the Session and Clerk of Session.
The first thing I will do is to take some time to read all the many expressions of love that you sent me via the incredibly thoughtful From Our Heart to Yours notebook of letters and notes, beautifully organized by Anne Fowlkes, and lovingly presented by Celeste Porter, Chair of the Weimer 22 Celebration Team. I also want to watch every video clip message that was sent to the church — those messages recorded by my long-time friends and partners in ministry.
Our family has recently established a non-profit ministry, the Justin L. Weimer “Everything is a Win” Foundation. By action of the NAPC session, the funds that so many of you graciously gave in memory of Justin have been transferred to the foundation. Our goal is to direct 100% of the funds toward international mission that was so close to Justin’s heart, as well as to organizations that seek to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues in our broader culture. In the course of time, we hope to raise additional funds for the same purposes. As I mentioned in my last sermon, I/we also want to speak about removing the stigma of mental health issues in our broader culture, and within communities of faith, whenever such opportunities arise.
Please know that Cynthia and I, and our family, love and cherish you, and will always hold you close in our hearts.
With gratitude, love, and joy,
Scott, Cynthia, Christen, James, and Justin (always in our hearts)