By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter September 7, 2018

It is with deep sadness that we accept Carol Brown’s resignation. For over Twenty-three years Carol has offered unparalleled care to our preschoolers and their families. How rare a gift it is to have a Preschool Minister with such a faithful tenure!

Beyond her compassionate care, Carol’s professionalism, commitment to excellence, collegiality, expertise in communications, pastoral sensitivities and deep love of Highland Hills have served our God’s mission through our congregation in ways beyond what one sees on Sunday morning in the sanctuary or Wednesday evening in the nursery.

If fact, when I think of some of the hallmarks of Carol’s ministry among us, I think of as many moments outside the church building than in it. Carol's ability to organize and adapt in the moment became vital in mission trips over the years, from Slovakia to West Virginia. Her careful eye and clear voice have shaped nearly every piece of communication sent out by email or mailed by post. Yet, it is during her care for preschoolers and their families when her pastoral heart is most evident and her calling, clear.

When a family has a baby, Carol blesses the family with symbolic gifts from the very first day. Week by week, Carol cares for our little ones in the nursery. She oversees, trains, and encourages volunteers and paid workers to offer care in a christly way. She supervises our Buddy Program for children and their families who may need special accommodations to worship rightly and well at Highland Hills. Members of our church tell stories of Carol showing up at their house to offer respite when they have been at wits end with a crying child or to offer a hand to help them unpack when they first moved to town. I should know; I am one of them. It was Carol who helped me put together Logan’s first room in Macon. For these reasons, and for so many others, I have the deepest respect and gratitude for Carol, as a minister and friend.

While I grieve this loss for Highland Hills, I am fully supportive of Carol as she embarks on a new kind of ministry. Let us continue to prayerfully support her work, even as she transitions from the chancel to the pew and moves from being staff member to church member.

The great gift of this transition is that Carol and Steve will remain in Macon and at Highland Hills. Cass is already “inviting” her to the choir, “if she doesn’t mind.” Without her knowing it, I may or may not, have already signed her up to be a Christmas Eve Angel in 2019.

More details will be forthcoming, but we are planning to celebrate Carol’s ministry on Sunday, October 7th. Please save the date to join us as we thank and bless the Brown family.

So, what happens now? Now we enter a prayerful time in our ministry. In this liminal space we offer prayers of thanksgiving for "what has been" and prayers of discernment at “what will be.” Highland Hills is blessed with an engaged staff and devoted preschool committee. Pray for them, pray for me, pray for our Personnel committee, and pray for our church as we listen to where God is leading us in the future with our ministry to preschoolers and their families.