Pastor leaving Marietta's First Presbyterian
by Kathryn Dobies
June 02, 2010 12:00 AM | 7412 views | 9 9 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - Dr. Sam Henderson, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta, announced Sunday that he intends to leave the church.

"It's a very painful and difficult time of spiritual discernment for all of us," Henderson said, although he declined to say why he is leaving. He has led the 2,300-member congregation since September 2007.

Henderson, 56, said a congregational meeting has been set for next Sunday, at which time the congregation will vote on whether to petition the Presbytery - which oversees the governing body of the church - to dissolve Henderson's contract as pastor.

A nominating committee will then be selected to search for a new pastor.

"This is a wonderful congregation, and I wish the very best for the congregation, its lay leaders and its staff," said Henderson, who grew up in North Carolina. He does not have plans for his immediate future, he said.

First Presbyterian sits at 189 Church St. near the Marietta Square. Its last senior pastor, David Jones, left in 2005. He succeeded Jim Speed, who had led the church for 25 years.

Georgia State Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines, clerk of "session," the governing body of the church, alluded to managerial style issues between Henderson and the other church ministers.

"I'm sure people will be sad to see him go. Everybody wishes the best for him, and the best for our church," Hines said. "He's a good man, he's a decent man, and we wish him continued success in his ministry."
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Great Commision
June 09, 2010
Hey one family opinion! I agree there are quite a few of them aren't they. I wonder why you chose mine to lob a retort too especially since if you would read the words I am sayin what you said so I wonder why all the hostility? Rather sad of you to do.
One family opinion
June 09, 2010
Great commission, please keep our church business within our Church. You have our prayers but running comments in newspapers is not appropriate in our view.
very interesting...
June 05, 2010
As a member of the church I can say that I was quite shocked to learn our senior pastor was leaving, but more shocked by his message to the congregation last Sunday. While I think everyone worked their hardest to make this work, it is obvious there was not the fit we had hoped there would be. My hat goes off to Sam for realizing this and moving on. No one was "after him". This was his own decision.

In the Presbyterian Church, the pastor does not have all the say so. He/she must work with the governing body of the church, which is the Session - much like the President works with Congress.
June 04, 2010
The fact that someone felt the need to publicize the leaving of Dr. Henderson is what is truly hurtful. It is not old Marietta, it is not new or younger people, it may have just been a bad fit for Dr. Henderson. The travesty is that just a few months ago, Dr. Don Esa resigned as there were too many pastors at the church.

As we enter into the celebration of 175 yrs, we do so without a senior minister.

What ever the issues may have been, they should not have been put out for the entire community. It does not bode well for FPC, a remarkable church.
Great Commission
June 02, 2010
This does not have so much to do with "entrenched old Marietta members" as you might think. Please pray for our church. Pray for light to shine upon the truth that is needed to move ahead. We really don't need a blow by blow of every wrong done to every person involved. We don't need history lessons of past trials and hurts. We are in dire need of prayer. Pray for salt to season our collective wisdom. Pray that people are able to put aside their own desires for the good of the whole. Pray that pride takes a back seat to healing. We need to heal so that we can most effectively spread the love of Christ, and exemplify the fruits of a peaceful spirit. We need to heal so that we have a witness that others want to be a part of. Pray that all of this will only lead to revival and a stronger faith. This is what our Lord has commanded of us and we need to get busy about doing it - NO EXCUSES!
New Marietta
June 02, 2010
Can you say it with smaller words, please?
Indian Joe
June 02, 2010
Having been a member of First Presby I can tell you that the minister does not run this church - the entrenched old Marietta members of the congregation do - and I am sure Dr. Henderson had his fill of it. I can't speak for other churches, but now what the problem is/was at this one.
June 02, 2010
Differences in managerial style can mean many things - to a vertically integrated management structure that is used to multiple levels of seperation of power / control, a Senior Pastor pushing for a flatter structure will be seen as a threat to those comfortable working within a well defined hierarchial framework because of the potential to gain additional layers of accountability without "signing up" so to speak.

To a flat structure with loose controls - it can mean the resistance of the ministerial management structure to adopt internal controls and assume definable accountability through segregation of duties as defined by the Senior Pastor - a resistance to the efforts of the Senior Pastor to reign in individuals used to operating with a free hand.
Old Marietta
June 02, 2010
"...managerial style issues..." What does that mean?
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