Dear Hope Family,
What an encouraging and motivating time we enjoyed last Sunday evening at the Congregational Meeting! I am so thankful for the times we can gather as a church family, share a meal together, and hear about (only in part, sadly!) some of the wonderful works God is doing in our midst by His grace. We are already making plans to refine and enrich future gatherings, but for now we celebrate the blessing we enjoyed this go-around.
Several important outcomes from the Congregational Meeting deserve to be highlighted:
- We approved unanimously three new Deacons who will be ordained and installed as officers of Hope Presbyterian Church: Charles Ashton, Michael Mitchell, and Ben ZumMallen. Please take a moment and thank these wonderful, brave souls and pray for their service in our church and community to be life-giving and grace-filled for them and everyone they serve.
- We started a new nomination process for more . . . Deacons! For the month of February, we are receiving nominations for the office of Deacon. Please spend some time reviewing the biblical qualifications for the office of deacon in 1 Timothy 3, pray for God to raise up servant leaders, and before you nominate a person, please contact them to let them know if they are willing to be nominated. You can communicate with me directly or any member of the Session to make your nomination.
- We are looking forward to searching for and finding a Director of Worship at Hope. I reviewed some of the most prominent character traits and competencies we are hoping for, and we are forming a team to begin our formal search. Please continue to pray for God’s blessing and provision, as he has been so gracious and faithful in the past!
Lastly, I can finally report (only in part) that yesterday several Elders and I took part in the final court appearance for our former office administrator, Barrett Kenan, who was charged in November 2017 with 50 counts of felony embezzlement perpetrated against Hope Presbyterian Church. The Forsyth District Attorney’s office brought their case against Mrs. Kenan before the appointed judge, and once the facts of the case were presented, Mrs. Kenan was convicted of all the charges by her plea of guilt. She also made some financial restitution to our church for the money she had misappropriated. In light of her admission of guilt and her provision of restitution, the judge sentenced her to serve a sentence of 36 months of probation. I was invited by the District Attorney and the judge to make a statement on behalf of our church in the midst of the proceedings, and I was thankful for the chance to give voice to our church’s twin concerns that justice and mercy, accountability and grace would be realized in this matter.
I offer this very broad-stroke summary to you in this format because the Session wants you to know where we stand in this consuming, exacting battle we have been fighting for almost two years, and we want you to hear from us rather than a news source or word-on-the-street. Of course, it deserves much a fuller treatment, and it raises many questions that a broadcast email is not suited to answer. We are putting together a pastoral letter to address the details of the proceedings, the details of our deliberation as Elders on how to approach the District Attorney’s case, and copies of the prepared statement I read to the court on Hope’s behalf. We are hoping that we can get that letter out to you early this week, and we are thankful for your patience as we try to balance the frenetic pace of this past week as the case finally moved to resolution and our desire to keep you informed.
Please do pray for all involved that the hope and healing of the Gospel would continue to prevail.
Grace and peace,