September 25, 2016
Emerywood Baptist Church
1300 Country Club Drive
High Point, North Carolina 27262
Dear Emerywood Congregation:
In recent weeks I have had discussions with our Diaconate leadership concerning my impending retirement as your Senior Minister. We have come to the agreement that now is a fortuitous time for us to leave. Debby and I deeply appreciate all that you have done and are doing for us as we transition to a new place and stage in life. With all of these factors in mind, we have set our last Sunday to be October 30th, 2016.
We have thoroughly enjoyed Emerywood and High Point. I have lived here longer than any other place in my life and have loved it. We will always hold this city and church deep in our hearts. As you move into the future I am excited for Emerywood and believe that you have a great future ahead of you as you listen to the Spirit of Christ and live out of Christ’s love. Your Ministerial Staff is incredibly capable; they will serve the Lord with you in a wonderful manner. Your Diaconate leadership is outstanding; they will enable you to face the future as one body unified in Christ Jesus.
I can assure you that I leave with neither "If" nor "If only" in my mind. I have given you the best of me — of my heart, of my time, my energy and my talent. This is all that is required of any of us. I have tried with every fiber of my body to live and lead in an authentic manner, as an honest and open person. I have tried to help us live out of the questions, knowing that in so doing the answers would come. I have tried to encourage us to love God with all our heart, mind and soul — and you have helped me to do so as well. I have tried to call us to follow the Christ of the gospels and not the Christ of either tradition or popular culture. I have tried to enable us to focus on the "least of these" rather than the "greatest of these." Have we succeeded? Christ alone is our judge. Like all Christ-followers we fall down and we get up, we fall down and we get up.
So I leave you with my favorite saying of all Christianity: "There is nothing you can do to make God love you more...there is nothing you can do to make God love you less...God loves you. Now, go live out of that love."
Robert U. Ferguson, Jr.