RETURNING TO WEST
The Rev. Craig Rutherford, pastor of Belmont Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for more than eight years, has announced his resignation effective Jan. 14. He and his wife and young adult son are moving to Texas to be nearer their families. The Rutherfords came from the Oklahoma City, Okla. area in 2009. Belmont Christian serves Southeast Roanoke and part of Vinton. An interim pastor for Belmont will be chosen.
ST.JOHN’S EPISCOPAL ANNIVERSARY
St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Roanoke is marking its 125th year. One of the original congregations from the days when the hamlet known as Big Lick preceded the growing railroad town re-named Roanoke, it has long been the largest congregation in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. The stone building on South Jefferson Street at Elm Avenue has undergone several additions. The Rev. Eric Long is the current rector.
METHODIST URBAN WORKER
TRANSFERRED TO NE AREA
Becky Parsons, a United Methodist urban missionary who has helped direct the Community Outreach Program (COP) based in the Old Southwest Roanoke Trinity’s UM Church for the past eight years, is leaving this month. Parsons, who works for the national United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, will be a mission advocate for the Northeast Jurisdiction. She will travel and teach from a base in the Boston area. In Roanoke Parsons’ work has involved the after-school education and fellowship program which is supported with funds and volunteers from parishes in the Roanoke District. Her successor has not been named.
LUTHERANS HELP TEXANS
At St. John Lutheran Church members touched by the mass shooting that took place at a Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, are sending cards and prayer notes to surviving members there. Hannah Smith of the Cave Spring area congregation said the personal contacts are meant to assure the bereaved households that others care deeply for them.
TWO CLERGY ENTER RETIREMENT
The Rev. Roy Miller has retired as chaplain to residents of The Hermitage, the United Methodist retirement home in Northwest Roanoke. The Rev. J. Harmon Smith, who began a weekly Holy Communion service to residents of the Virginia Veterans Care Center more than 20 years ago, has also retired for health reasons and now lives in Blacksburg. Both the clergymen carried on their chaplaincy duties after retirements from fulltime service, Miller as a United Methodist and Smith as an Episcopalian. Their work will continue.
GROW WITH MERGER
The congregation of Belmont Baptist Church serving Southeast Roanoke and the Vinton area recently celebrated the first 18 months since the declining 115-year old congregation affected a merger with a group of younger adults who needed a church building. Currently, according to the Rev. Jon Laughinghouse, a pastor who came from the younger group, the programs of the church have been upgraded, some members are helping a new church start in Martinsville and renovations are being made to the large old church at 825 Stewart Ave, SE.