Every now and then, there’s a game of dominoes in the United Methodist Church where the bishop and his council are the players and local churches and their ministers are the pieces being shuffled on the table.
It’s not really a game, of course, but the Rev. Kyle Randle’s move to Conway last week was the result of the most recent shuffle.
What happens, Randle explained, is that one United Methodist minister in South Carolina is reassigned, leaving a hole that another must fill which leaves another hole and so on.
Randle has replaced the Rev. Mac Kinnet, who moved to a United Methodist Church in Spartanburg.
The process is by no means willy-nilly, Randle said, as each church and each minister submits an annual profile of sorts to the bishop’s office so that information can be weighed as certain as Caribbean domino players weigh the spots on their pieces before they slap them onto the board.
“It’s a larger purpose than just me coming here,” Randle said of his reassignment from the United Methodist Church in Lancaster.
Kinnet and Randle spoke about the reassignment and the former minister told the new minister that the congregation is ready to move to a new plateau, and now it’s up to Randle and the Conway congregation to figure out just what that will be.
Each congregation has its own identity and its own purpose, Randle said, and it can take months for a new minister and congregation to settle in completely with one another. A lot of what Randle does will be dictated by there being different people and a different culture to the church in Conway than in Lancaster.
“The way I do ministry in Lancaster will be very different than the way I do ministry here,” he said.
While Conway’s congregation didn’t have any say over who its next minister would be, it did get a chance to meet and talk with Randle when he was appointed to the post. It wasn’t an interview, Randle said, but rather a conversation exploring how each other thought and how they express themselves.
What unites them, and indeed members of Christian churches everywhere, is that all are one in Christ, Randle said.
Hence, he decided to preach his first sermon on how people may come from many different places, but they become one when they worship Christ.
Randle was in Lancaster for five years and in Mt. Pleasant the seven years prior to that. He began his ministry in Seneca.
“We’re very much a water, coastal family,” he said of his wife, 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.
Randle said he graduated from college with degrees in English and French. He taught French to high schoolers for a year before deciding to go to a seminary and into the ministry.
Randle likens the move from the secular world to the religious world to being on a roller coaster. There’s that long, uphill climb of anticipation, then the leveling out at the top for a moment before the excitement and exhilaration at the first plunge into the journey.
For him, the excitement came when he first felt the joy of being a part of people’s lives and sharing in their joys and sorrows.
He wants his congregation to have the same feeling.
“I want people to be excited to be a part of the church,” he said. “Being Christian is not just a Sunday thing. It’s a way of life.”
Looking at architecture
The City Council hasn’t yet decided what style of architecture it wants for Conway’s new public safety building, but Councilman Irby Koon is betting that if residents want an idea, they should go to look at the new city maintenance facility.
The city set aside money for the public safety building’s construction in its fiscal 2013 budget and council members have begun thinking about what they want on the Ninth Avenue site. Koon says that residents like for city buildings to be generally in the same style so they can easily identify a building as one of the city’s.
The city is going to ask an architect to do a rough drawing of the building on the site to make sure that it can fit the necessary square footage on the land without disturbing the oak trees that grow there.
“We who are guarding the trees shouldn’t be cutting them down,” Koon said.
The city passed a law in the first half of the 20th century that made it illegal to cut any of its live oaks just to pave a street. Now, the city has oaks named for historic figures and streets shaded from the summer heat by their encompassing branches.
Koon said he had three goals when he joined the council in 1998, and the completion of the public safety building will mark them all as done. The other two, he said, were the construction of the new city maintenance building and a new recreation center.
But just because those things will be done with the opening of the new public safety building, Koon said it doesn’t mean it’s time for him to retire.
He still wants to work toward continued improvement of the city’s water and sewer system, enhancements of the sidewalk system, additions to the recreation program and other things.
If you’re doing it right, Koon said, a council member’s work is never done.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.