Today is Announcement Sunday: the day when we find out who our new pastor will be. Our congregation embarked on this journey when a tragic health situation forced Pastor Gary to step down from ministry. Early in the process, longtime member Kathy Tanner shared these words of encouragement. Now, with her permission, I share them with you.
“In this situation, we have a two-fold opportunity for being a blessing. We have an opportunity to rally behind Gary with the same support that he so genuinely offered us. We also have the opportunity to support a new pastor that will need us too. It would be so easy to become negative, but we must not miss the beauty in the ashes that God has planned for us. We have a ‘God-portunity’ to show Gary, our new pastor, our members, and our community the faith and strength of our church.”
With those thought, I announce that, effective January 1, 2021, our new pastor will be Reverend David Averill. A native of Miami, Rev. Averill is a graduate of the University of Florida (Go Gators!). He has a master’s degree in education from Nova Southeastern and a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. He comes to us from St. John’s United Methodist Church in Winter Haven, where he has been the Senior Pastor since July 2015. Before entering Christian ministry, he served five years on active duty in the U.S. Army and continues to serve as a chaplain in the Army Reserves. He has been married to his wife, Alesia, a native of Belarus, since March 2012, and they have two children, Daniel and Amelia.
Let us demonstrate our faith and strength as we welcome Rev. Averill and his family to First United Methodist Church Mount Dora!
Chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee