For 30 years, Laverne Melton has been the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Thomson.
Very soon, that will no longer be the case.
She is retiring from that position and, on Feb. 1, will join Dr. Jimmy Elder on staff at First Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga., as the Minister of Outreach and Special Events.
"It will be my task to help introduce and assimilate the large number of visitors to areas of the church that will help them connect to opportunities of ministry and service beyond a one time visit," Ms. Melton said.
Her job will also include organizing events that foster a relationship between the church and the community and assisting with senior adult programs.
Ms. Melton also said that, while not a primary focus of her ministry, music will still be very influential on her worship experience.
Ms. Melton reflected on her ministry in Thomson as one that has progressed because of group effort.
"In the music ministry, the accomplishments are totally based on team work," she said. "So together we have continued to carry an appreciation for choral excellence."
Ms. Melton has been a large part of the expansion of First Baptist's music ministry, which now includes choirs for people from age 3 to adult, handbell teams and instrumental ensembles.
Another part of her ministry in Thomson has been the community choir.
"Though I did not start the Community Chorus, it has been a joy to direct the Messiah in these last several years," Ms. Melton said.
During her years in Thomson and McDuffie County, the people of the area have become an integral part of her life.
"Having shared in so many joys and sorrows with many familiesthe bond of friendship and love becomes strengthened and will not break," she said.