Farewell, and Thanks! – A Word from DS Rev. Andy Smith

Capital District Friends, the time has come for me to step aside into retirement -again. I have been truly blessed by my short time as your Interim DS.

I said in my initial newsletter Word from the DS that, “Jumping back into work, and onto the Rio Texas cabinet, was unexpected but not unwelcomed.” It was good, but not easy, to serve alongside my Cabinet friends for one more season.

But, the greater blessing has been in connecting and re-connecting with the pastors, leaders, people, and churches of the Capital District. Together, we faced some significant challenges, and celebrated some vital ministries. I had the privilege of introducing nine pastors to new congregations, interviewing aspiring clergy candidates, and celebrating milestones in ministry.

As you probably know, Robyn and I will still be around, as we bought a home in south Austin last year (and all our kids and grandkids live in Austin).

I know you join me in welcoming our new DS, Rev. Dr. Marcus Freeman, an Austin native, and his wife Janice, and their young-adult daughters, Leslie and Lillian to the Capital District family. Marcus and I have been friends since we were classmates at Perkins School of Theology, thirty-something years ago.

Friends, thank you for the way you received me as your DS without hesitation and with such loving spirits. While we were all very happy for our beloved Laura Merrill to be elected bishop and appointed to the Arkansas Conference, we weren’t really ready to let her go, much less welcome someone else in her place! Although I am certainly a step-down (at least) from Bishop Merrill, I was never treated that way by you.

Thanks for your friendship, your guidance, your faithfulness to the gospel and to the United Methodist Church, and your hard work serving the impoverished and the marginalized among us. I look forward to serving alongside you for many years to come – not as your DS, but as your friend and brother in Christ.

Blessings and Peace,