Congregation ‘roasts’ pastor on 25th year

Sandra ClarkPowell

The Rev. Thomas D. Sweet and the Beaver Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Sunday celebrated the 25th anniversary of Sweet’s ministry at the Powell church.

During the Sunday morning service, Sweet was presented with a new ministerial stole and robe by Sheena Richardson Beal of the church’s Cumberland Presbyterian Women’s (CPW) group.

Sweet joined the church in 1995 as its senior pastor and moved to Broadacres (where he still lives) with his family – his late wife, Rhonda, and their four children: Aaron, the Rev. Anna Sweet Brockman, Ben and Levi.

“It’s been a privilege and honor to have been called to Beaver Creek and to serve this family and see our families grow through the years and enjoy God’s graces,” Sweet said.

The celebration continued Sunday evening in the pavilion behind the church with an old-fashioned sing-along, a bonfire and “roast” marking Sweet’s 25 years.

The “roasters,” who shared humorous moments along with emotional memories, included Youth Pastor Billy Price, Children’s Ministry Director Stacey Cox, and church members Becky Shanton, Tammy Curtis, Drew Brandon and Gwen Roddye, along with master of ceremonies Tom King.

The final roaster was the Rev. Thomas D. Campbell, who was the church’s pastor from 1985-1994. Campbell retired from the ministry two years ago and he and wife Linda moved back to Powell from Arkansas and attend Beaver Creek.

Campbell’s remarks to Sweet and the church concluded with this: “…. You have traveled together through joy and sadness, victory and defeat, pain and loss and personal triumph. God bless you everyone!”

From the pastor

Sweet wrote to the congregation in The Outlook, following the special service:

“25 years, it has been 25 years. I came to Beaver Creek for a trial sermon on Sept. 20, 1995. I arrived in Knoxville on Nov. 13, 1995, and my first Sunday in the pulpit as pastor was Nov. 19, 1995.

“Yesterday you remembered. Sunday morning and evening you celebrated our time together. Thank you for the stole, the robe, the plaque, the pictures on Sunday morning. Thank you for the roast and memories shared on Sunday evening.

“So many people collaborated to make it a fantastic day. My eyes are still filled with tears when I think of the wonderful years here for me and my family. You have received us, cared for us, let us grow with you.

“Aaron, Anna, Ben, and Levi have all made their professions of faith in Jesus Christ here. Anna was married here. Rhonda’s life was made complete here. My parents closed out their days here.

“I am thankful to God for the call that led us together. These 25 years and counting have been an opportunity and privilege to serve alongside with you. Thank you for sharing your lives with me and my family.

“I pray that God will continue to bless us and use us that we might be ever faithful to the ministry committed to our hearts and hands and voices.”

Tom King contributed mightily to this report.

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