Departure of pastor leaves void in community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Both shoes dropped last Sunday simultaneously.

And with a resounding thud, I'm here to tell you.

The First Presbyterian Church

congregation received the news, without preamble, that the husband-wife team of Pastor Emory Olin (Chip) Watson and his mate, the former Frankie Ann Rhodes, would be departing this community by July 2000.

For more than seven years the Watsons have contributed heavily, and with great effectiveness to Greenville and all its inhabitants.

From Day One in September of 1992, Chip has been moving forward in a positive manner, and can boast of admirers in all sectors.

Ditto for Frankie who has for a number of years been teaching a Bible study course for all who profess Christianity, and her students come from all denominations.

She also doubled as a swimming instructor.

Their new charge will be at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (membership of 900) at Columbia, S.C., where Chip will be assistant pastor and Frankie will serve as director of Womens' Ministries.

They'll be returning to the Palmetto State from whence they came to the Camellia City.

The illness of Frankie's mother who lives in Charleston is one of the factors in the Watsons' decision to make the move.

Another determinant is the opportunity for the pair to work together and live closer to family and to have a more productive working life. Also, daughter Grace, the only child at home, graduates from high school this summer and to go off to college.

The Rev. Fred Lindstrom of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church here remarked that Chip's move would create a void that would indeed be difficult to fill.

To sum it up, we'll say a dynamic force will abscent itself from this community.

As an addenda to the above we'll simply state the anticipation of Chip's and Frankie's imminent departure leaves us with a certain tristesse (sadness) we'll just have to live with.

The best of everything, hopefully, will be part and parcel of all their future endeavors.