Sunday September 13, 2020

Dear Congregation of First Baptist Church of Athens,

It is my great pleasure to welcome the Reverend Matthew H. Marston as the new senior minister of the First Baptist Church of Athens. After the church voted unanimously to call Matt in a church conference held virtually today, Matt accepted the call and will become the 24th full-time senior minister in our 190-year church history. Matt’s first Sunday in the pulpit in Athens will be October 18th.

Matt and his wife and children will be dynamic additions to our congregation and the greater Athens community. Matt is impressive in what he has accomplished professionally and is relatable in a very personal way as a minister. We are thrilled to have the four of them join our church and become part of our family.

I know you are all excited to get to know the Marstons and welcome them to FBC Athens. Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear about opportunities being planned to connect with the Marstons. In the meantime, pray for this special family as they find a home, make decisions about school and transition from a place where they have lived for 10 years.

First Baptist Church is deeply grateful to the members of the Senior Minister Search Committee for their dedication and time commitment to the search. They met weekly for 17 months and deliberately followed a meticulous and thorough process that led us to this place. God’s hand was in the journey, and I know they appreciate all of the prayers and support from the congregation.

We were indeed blessed to have had Joel Snider as our interim minister. His wise and calming presence in the pulpit sustained us during what turned out to be a tumultuous time in our world. Joel and Cherry are very dear to us and we’ll always consider them part of our church family. I also want to thank the staff who have kept all the programs of the church going and made pivoting to a virtual world look seamless. They are a talented group who have shown creativity, resourcefulness and a willingness to adapt as needed. Finally, without strong lay leadership, our church would not have been able to thrive during this transition. Jill Dawson and Bill Hopper, who chaired our Board of Deacons over the last two years, along with talented committee chairs have ensured the overall health and well-being of the church and put us in a strong position to begin this new chapter.

It is certainly an exciting time for First Baptist Church. We are thankful for God’s rich blessings and pray for our church and the Marston family as we begin this new time of ministry together. Please click here for a digital introduction to Rev. Matt Marston.

With gratitude,
Beth Sanders
Chair, Board of Deacons