The farewell celebration for Associate Pastor Rebecca Maynard was full of laughter and tears Sunday.
Maynard is retiring from First Baptist Church of Elkin as of last Sunday, Feb. 24. She had held the position for more than 13 years.
The ceremony began with a PowerPoint presentation of Rebecca’s accomplishments during her tenure. Titled “Many Faces of Rebecca Maynard,” both her personal and church-related activities were highlighted, ranging from vacations to her time at the church. Following the slide show several of the church leaders spoke.
Her former pastor Bill Johnson, looked back to when he pastored First Baptist of Elkin and how Maynard had a great deal of responsibility placed on her right from the start. She was originally “hired” as a non-paid intern through her college for nine months, but at the end of that she was able to continue on for another nine months, he said.
When Johnson left on sabbatical for four months he left Maynard with a heavy load on her shoulders as associate pastor.
“When I left, a woman in the church told Rebecca she had big shoes to fill. When I got back that woman told me that I had big shoes to fill,” said Johnson.
The church’s minister of music, David McCollum, joked that Maynard’s resignation came on the same day as Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. He said jokingly that perhaps Maynard was planning a denomination switch, or perhaps that “the pope just couldn’t do it anymore knowing Maynard was gone.”
David led the congregation in Maynard’s favorite hymn, Micah verses 1-6 in song, then the group moved outside for the second half of the special presentation.
Maynard has championed the Labyrinth during her time at First Baptist. A spiritual walkway and courtyard designed to represent a believer’s relationship with God, the area is a place Maynard and others use to reflect and pray. In celebration and remembrance of Maynard as she leaves, the church dedicated the First Baptist Church of Elkin’s labyrinth in her honor. A poem written by Susan Neaves was read by Judy Nance entitled “Living Stones” and was then presented to Maynard in a pebble-encrusted frame.
The church then moved into the fellowship hall and held a time of refreshments and socializing to say farewell to Maynard. While she may not be moving away, she will be unable to attend church due to her new career as a labyrinth-designer and retreat supervisor for other churches. Those who spoke at the ceremony said they were happy for Maynard but that she would be greatly missed.
To contact Taylor Pardue, call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.