By Bobby Flash Melton
Ministers representing several local churches were treated to an appreciation breakfast last week by Apex Bank. The breakfast was held Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Apex Community Building on Hwy. 641. It has been an annual event for several years.
“We love doing this each year for the pastors and thank them for what they mean to our community through their ministries,” said Apex Bank Branch Manager Steve Matlock. “It’s always a great time to have fellowship and see them. We just enjoy being a part of it.”
Prior to the meal being served Matlock welcomed the guests then called on Jerold Johnson of the Big Sandy Apex branch for the blessing. Following the meal, a program got underway which began with remarks from Benton County Ministerial Alliance Executive Director Carey Womack. He passed out brochures and spoke briefly about the work of the Alliance.
The Alliance is made up of ministers of different denominations and works to aid Benton Countians who have a need in areas such as housing, aging, hunger, unemployment, and living in poverty. In addition to his duties with the Alliance Womack also serves as minister of Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Camden.
Gary Greer, minister of Grace Baptist Church in Camden, spoke next. Greer, an Apex employee, earlier had assisted with the preparation and serving of the breakfast meal.
As part of a short devotion delivered by Greer, he thanked the pastors for their dedication and commitment in serving their congregations and the community. He said he knew firsthand that their jobs were not always easy and said if he could ever help any of them, he would be glad to do so.
Many of the ministers at last week’s breakfast had attended pastor appreciation gatherings in the past hosted by Apex. However, for Adam Kelchner, new minister at First United Methodist Church in Camden, it was his first time to attend.
“For me being new in the area it’s a delight to meet other ministers, put names with faces, and get a sense of where they’re serving. I appreciate Apex Bank for sponsoring this so we can gather and be supportive of each other,” Kelchner said.
“It’s always a blessing to gather with other ministers and have fellowship and I also want to thank Apex Bank for the breakfast and this opportunity. Brother Greer’s message this morning was uplifting and encouraging, and we all need that,” said Randy Thompson of Crossroads Missionary Baptist Church. “For those like myself who have been here awhile it’s good to meet new ministers who have just moved here and develop new friendships and relationships.”
“It’s good to have a bank that serves Christ in our community – serving is what it’s all about,” said Steve Whitworth of Bruceton First United Methodist Church. “I’ve been attending these breakfast gatherings for about 20 years and always enjoy the fellowship with my friends in the ministry. I’m thankful that Apex Bank continues to host this gathering every year.”
In closing Matlock again thanked the pastors for their faithfulness to their churches and the community. He also thanked Apex Bank employees who got up early to help with breakfast preparations. “We arrived about 6:30 a.m. to start cooking breakfast and to get things ready for our guests’ arrival. Everyone pitched in whatever way possible to make this a meaningful and special morning. It’s been an enjoyable fellowship for all of us and our guests.”