Greetings from the Buff Family!

Since getting the call from the conference, we have been excited about getting to know each of you and serving beside you in ministry. I look forward to finding out what gives you life at Etowah UMC and finding out how God has been at work in your lives and in the mission of your church.
 
North Carolina has always been home to me. I grew up in Drexel. I even had a few jobs working in furniture plants some summers while those jobs were still around. I graduated from East Burke High School in Icard before going to Wake Forest University. My major was in Ancient Greek, although I’ll confess that I don’t read anything in Greek as often as I imagined I would back then. I then went to Duke Divinity School in Durham where I got my Master of Divinity degree.
 

After Duke I was appointed to four churches in Lilesville. Even having lived in NC my whole life, I wasn’t quite sure where that was when my district superintendent told me that’s where I’d be going. In the days before googling a location, I looked it up on a map, and saw that it was about an hour east of Charlotte. I spent six great years there. While there I finished the ordination process and became an Elder in our conference. One month before I moved from Lilesville, I married my wife Kristin. We had planned the wedding a year out, and had made reservations early for our honeymoon at a quiet little cabin in Maggie Valley. Months after making those plans we found out that Maggie Valley is where I would be serving after leaving Lilesville. So Kristin and I honeymooned one road over from the church I served for the next eleven years. I don’t need convincing that God has had his hand in placing me right where I needed to be over these past seventeen years.

 

There isn’t much about being a minister that I don’t like, but I have especially enjoyed being involved in feeding ministries over the years, in preaching and leading bible studies, in serving on a District Committee on Ordained Ministry, in leading a Residence in Ordained Ministry group, in spending time visiting with people in need of a good word, and recently in taking part in Bishop Leeland’s Emerging Leader Initiative. I can’t wait to see all the ways God is working through you and Etowah UMC, and can’t wait to join with you in your ministries.

 

I consider myself an amateur astronomer (very amateur), a sometimes beekeeper (although its been a few years since I’ve had any bees), and a reader.

 

Kristin has worked at Hazelwood Elementary School for ten years – teaching in a few different grade levels until finding her passion as an Exceptional Children’s (EC) teacher. So its with great joy that she has just taken a job as an EC teacher at I.C. Imagine in Asheville starting this next school year. Kristin and I have two children, Sarah and Maston. They are six and four respectively. Sarah was named after her great grandmother, and Maston was named after his great great grandfather. Sarah will be entering the first grade, and Maston has one more year to go before Kindergarten. They are both anticipating a good move. Every day for the past few weeks Maston has asked, “Are we moving to our new house today?” Not today, but it won’t be long.

 

It won’t be long until we will all be worshiping together, having conversations, and breaking bread at the communion table and around tables of fellowship. Until then, know that I am praying for you and Etowah already during this time of transition. This can be a time of bitter-sweet emotions, as we say good-bye and hello to congregations and pastors all within such a short period of time. I ask for you to be in prayer for me and my family as well. May God bless you, and may God guide us as we work to build his kingdom together.