PDT Staff Writer
One of Scioto County’s largest churches is losing two pastors to reassignment.
Pastors Clark Hess and Kym James of Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 1415 Gallia St., Portsmouth, will be leaving at the end of June.
Starting July 1, Hess will become pastor of Milford First United Methodist Church, in the Cincinnati suburb of Milford.
Hess has been the pastor of Cornerstone for nine years. He says he will miss the people of the congregation the most.
“I am going to miss the deep relationships with the folks here. While here we went through the process of merging churches, raising funds for a new church and launching all kinds of new ministries,” Hess said. “I will miss the excitement of all of that.”
James has served Cornerstone as the associate pastor of lay development.
James and her husband, Frank, (a minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Sciotoville) asked to be reappointed in hopes of serving at a church together.
“My husband, Frank James, has been appointed to serve at the Quincy United Methodist Church in Quincy, Ohio. We will be living there together and I have been appointed to serve three miles away at the De Graff United Methodist Church,” James said.
Kym James said her fondest memory while serving at Cornerstone was the day she met Alberta Parker, whose mother died while saving her during the Portsmouth Flood of 1937.
“The day someone told me that the lady who was the baby rescued in the flood had just left our building, I ran outside to find her. Her mother, Bessie Tomlin, whose mural is my favorite, has been my hero and a source of inspiration. When I met Alberta Parker that afternoon and hugged her, I felt like not only was I holding history, history was holding me. From that moment on, every time I hug someone, I realize I am embracing a person that someone died to save … that someone is Jesus Christ.”
Both Hess and James reflected on the progress made by the congregation on its building.
“Our church building cost $5 million and to be able to leave with a debt of under $100,000 is a testimony of joyful giving. Just like Jesus took a little boy’s lunch, blessed it, broke it and multiplied it to feed 5,000 people, the Lord has taken us, blessed us, chosen to break us, and multiplied our gifts and sacrifice to reach a multitude at this time in human history,” James said.
Hess and James will serve their last Sunday at Cornerstone June 24.
The new leadership of the congregation will include Scioto County resident Tom Charles, who has served the last 11 years as a United Methodist minister. He will now serve as the executive pastor of discipleship.
Cornerstone’s pastor will be Tim Roth of Houston, Texas. Both will assume their leadership roles on July 1.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.