Rev. Ray Amos will retire after 47 years in the ministry
Published 3:26 pm Thursday, May 26, 2022
BY ROZELLA HARDIN
In just a couple of weeks, the Rev. Ray Amos will vacate his pulpit at Elizabethton First United Methodist Church, concluding a nine-year ministry at the church. His ministry which began in a coal camp in Buchanan County, Va. has spanned 47 years.
Retirement. It’s both exciting and scary for the well-seasoned pastor, who over the years has met hundreds and hundreds of people — preached to them, ministered to them, performed more than 1,000 marriages and has lost count of the number of funerals he has presided at. He also has lost count of the number of sermons he has preached. Sometimes it was as many as three a Sunday when he had a circuit with more than one church.
Preacher Amos and his wife, Pat, will be moving to their home in the Bloomingdale Community of Kingsport. “I may be retiring, but I plan to remain active. I plan to keep doing the Lord’s work, and we’ll see where he leads,” he said.
He shared that God called him into the ministry when he was a boy of nine years old, “and at that point I just wanted to be faithful to his calling and service. It’s been wonderful.”
Preacher Amos said he had never received a bad appointment, but First Methodist has been the “icing on the cake.”
“Even during the pandemic the church has grown both in number and ministries. It is a very caring and giving church,” he said, referring to First Methodist.
He began his ministry at the Garden and King Mountain Churches in a coal camp in Buchanan County, Va. Once a thriving church, it was closed about five years ago. During his ministry he has fulfilled five appointments made up of nine churches. He has pastored both large and small churches and found that both have their challenges.
“I enjoy being among the people. Preaching and pastoring go together. You have to be among the people if you minister to them. It was very difficult to pastor during the pandemic, especially when there were no church services, and you had to have church via livestream. It was a challenge to keep people involved,” Pastor Amos shared.
He’s a big promoter of Sunday School. “I’m a Christian today because when I was a child I went to Sunday School. There were times I was the only one in class,” Rev. Amos shared.
In addition to his ministry at First United Methodist, he enjoyed a ministry at Ivy Hall Nursing Home. “Those people have been wonderful. They love to sing and they love to hear God’s Word proclaimed,” he shared. Rev. Amos has also been involved in the Carter County Ministerial Association.
One of his favorite times of the year is Easter, when First United Methodist has a Maundy Thursday service. This year they were joined in the service by the congregations of First Baptist and First Christian Church. “This year, it was just wonderful…the music was great and just to share this important time of the year with other Christians made it even better,” he shared.
Rev. Amos plans to continue his daily devotion series. “I will still get up at 5 a.m., write my devotion for the day, and post it on Facebook. I will have more opportunities to visit and I hope to be called on a lot,” he said as he contemplated what retirement may be like.
He has great respect and love for his wife, Pat, who he said had been an important part of his ministry. “It’s been our ministry; we’ve shared it together,” the preacher said.
They are the parents of four grown children — two daughters and two sons, one of whom is in the ministry. In addition, they have six grandchildren, and one they “sort of adopted.”
Rev. Amos enjoys taking the scriptures and weaving his own experiences into the messages. “It makes it a little more real to life, especially to those who have a hard time understanding the scriptures,” he said.
“First Methodist has been a great congregation. Truthfully, I can say I never have had a bad appointment. When you’re in God’s will and doing his work, He blesses wherever you serve,” the retiring preacher said. “I’m already missing First Methodist and its people.”
His last Sunday at First United Methodist will be June 12.
In a recent devotion, Rev. Amos wrote: “Faith is never predictable. We cannot plan our walk with God like a person who would plan a trip. Life does not come with an itinerary and schedule. When Jesus called the disciples to follow Him, I notice that did not one ask where they were going; they just went.
“If Pat and I had planned where we would be, and how we would serve the Lord, I am certain that we would have missed out on the wonderful life that God has blessed us with. We have followed the breath of God and traveled hand in hand across an unseen pathway of life. It has not been without some hard times and tears, but the goodness of the way has been so much more.”
Those words best sum up the ministry of Ray and Pat Amos, and it is by faith they enter the next chapter of their life.