Dear Church Family,
As many of you know, our Senior Pastor, The Rev. Dr. Wesley H. Wachob, is retiring this July after 16 years of service to this congregation and nearly 50 years of service to the United Methodist Church. We are grateful for Dr. Wachob’s leadership these past 16 years – his preaching and teaching have been unparalleled, and his service to the church will have a lasting impact on so many people. Dr. Wachob’s last Sunday with us will be May 22. We wish him many happy years of retirement.
I know many of you have been wondering who our next Senior Pastor will be, and I am excited to say that we now have an answer.
It is with great joy that I share with you that Bishop David Graves has projected The Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz to be appointed as our new Senior Pastor, effective July 1, 2022! Our district superintendent, the Rev. Jean Tippit, introduced Geoffrey to our Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) on the evening of Tuesday, March 1, but no introductions were required because Dr. Lentz was born and raised in our church and served as our Executive Pastor for his first appointment. Dr. Lentz currently serves as the Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe, Florida, where he led the church through a period of great growth, while navigating the impact of the devastating Category 5 storm, Hurricane Michael.
Dr. Lentz earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of West Florida, his Masters of Divinity from Duke University, and his Doctor of Ministry from Drew University. He has recently earned a Certificate in Trauma and Resilience from Florida State University. He is married to Elizabeth (Liz) of Tarpon Springs, FL and they have two children, Luke (17), and Eliza Jane (12). They are excited to be moving back home to Pensacola where they have a lot of family and friends, and they are thrilled to serve a church that has meant so much to them.
Dr. Lentz, as a child, first heard the call to ministry on the way to First Church saying, “Momma, I love Jesus so much I want to be a preacher like Preacher Henry.” Now, that God-sized dream is coming to life. He is excited to walk in the footsteps of his two main mentors in ministry, his former Senior Pastors, Dr. Henry Roberts and Dr. Wesley Wachob.
Dr. Lentz’s passion for ministry is growing churches and making more disciples of Jesus Christ. He is excited to be a part of revitalizing Florida’s oldest Methodist Church and believes with all his heart that the best days of our 200-year-old church are ahead and not behind.
We look forward to welcoming Dr. Lentz and would also like to share that The Rev. Brandon Bures has officially been appointed to our church for another year and is now our Executive Pastor. And The Rev. Ken Autrey, our former Executive Pastor, has retired. We are lucky to have had the Rev. Autrey with us these many years helping to lead our church and minister to its people, and we are grateful to God for him. We will celebrate and honor his service to the church next Sunday, March 13.
We ask the entire congregation to join the SPRC in praying for our church, pastors, and staff during this season of transition.