The 250 or so in attendance made for a Feast-like Sabbath gathering, and there was an additional special purpose for the day. Two elders were given the opportunity to begin a new pastoral role in the area.
The Southwest regional pastor and pastor of the Phoenix area churches, Northern Arizona, Show Low and Hawaii congregations, Jim Tuck, presented Scott McKeon and Monte Knudson with a genuine shepherd’s staff. Each of the symbolic staffs were embellished in gold lettering with their names and the words “Love,” “Protect,” “Feed” and “Shepherd.” Mr. Tuck read biblical instructions to elders and emphasized the importance of leading congregations by example. Each of the wives, Carrie McKeon and Susie Knudson, received a beautiful bouquet of fresh carnations from Mrs. Tuck to emphasize their importance in serving the church areas alongside their husbands.
Mr. Knudson will pastor the Phoenix East and Show Low congregations and continue to serve as the senior pastor of the East African work. Mr. McKeon will pastor the Phoenix Northwest and Northern Arizona congregations, and continue to assist pastor Randy Schreiber in the Albuquerque, New Mexico congregation.
Mr. Tuck concluded the ceremony by asking a special prayer for God’s blessing and for His Spirit to guide and direct the new pastors and wives.
Following the installation of the new pastors, a gift of two handmade rocking chairs was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Tuck. The chairs were beautifully crafted by Fred Weed, a deacon serving the Northern Arizona congregation. Although rocking chairs may connote retiring, it’s not time yet for Mr. Tuck. He will continue to pastor the Hawaii congregation as well as remain the Southwest regional pastor to help and serve in Phoenix and other church areas.
Angela Balow, a member in the Phoenix Northwest congregation, organized a special cake for the outgoing pastor and wife and another for the incoming pastors and wives as well as some beautiful flowers and a gift basket on behalf of the church.
A “comfort food” dinner buffet was enjoyed by all. In the evening, games and a costume contest for the children added to the fun of the day. It was truly a very special Sabbath day in Phoenix.