by Pat & Lyn Bevis, Trinity Church Members
When we came to Tallahassee just one year ago, one of the things we were most concerned about was leaving our church and our pastors behind. We knew finding a new place to serve and belong would be critical to our transition to a new town. We love contemporary worship and sought it out here in Tallahassee.
We began visiting United Methodist Churches and making notes of the pros and cons of each church. Right from the start, one of the biggest pros about Trinity was Neal Averitt. Neal approached us the first time we visited, making sure he got our names and contact information. He followed up and invited us to meet for coffee or lunch. And he stayed in touch. He called or texted when he hadn’t seen us in a week or two. He helped us work through the pros and cons. He took us on a tour of the church building when we expressed concern about finding our way around. He found us places to plug in and do small acts of service as we were able. He came to the hospital and to the house when Lyn was going through some rough health scares and surgery. He even brought food and encouraged others to do so. And he prayed. All we had to do was send a text and he would call. Neal is more than a pastor; he is our friend.
We feel a little ungrounded knowing he is leaving us. We will miss his friendship, his always being at the other end of a text. We spent a lot of coffees and lunches talking about possible new ministries and projects. We talked about how important we feel it is to combine faith and fellowship and how we can encourage more of that. Neal made Sunday morning more than just a worship experience; he made it a time of friendship and caring for each other, and he made it extend beyond Sunday morning.
We can continue that feeling at Trinity. We will miss Neal and his family. They are special people, and we have been blessed by their presence and their service. But we are people of faith, and we care about each other. We can each do a little more to make ourselves more like Neal. We can invite someone for coffee or lunch. We can ask about their family and follow up with them. We can help others find their way around the church buildings and face the crises in their lives. That’s what we do as Christian friends. Thank you, Neal, for helping us remember that.
We wish you the very best on each and every day, as you step out in new directions, to make new friends and care for more people. Our prayers go with you and Julie and the girls as you refocus your lives and ministry in this time of change and transition.