First and foremost, I want to express my deepest gratitude and excitement for the opportunity to now be your Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church. Just as your Pastor Nominating Committee considered many potential candidates, I, too, was doing the same, including a church in Florida where our younger son and family live. However, when Sheila and I met your PNC there was a profound sense that God’s mighty hand was at work in this, and by the blessing of the Holy Spirit we found ourselves falling in love with Salem and with the folks that we were privileged to meet in the process. I am convinced that the Lord’s hand is upon this congregation in many and amazing ways and that God is calling you to be “the church with a heart in the heart of the city.”

I want to express my deep appreciation for the hours of prayer and service rendered by your PNC. They have labored arduously and diligently in this process with a real sensitivity to the guidance of the Spirit.

To Interim Minister, John King, I am grateful for his transitional ministry during this crucial period of discernment, and for his care and love in Christ for this church.

Sheila and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of those we have had the privilege to meet. As I look to a new beginning in your midst, I am extremely encouraged by the unconditional love I see taking place both inside and outside these walls. It is my joy and honor to unite with you in the mission of Christ as we seek to form a relationship that will enable us to go forward as God would lead us, and to do what Christ would want us to do, to the glory of God.

Peace, Gary