Greenville First United Methodist Church welcomes new pastor

Published 7:00 am Sunday, August 27, 2023

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The First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Greenville welcomed its new pastor, Lance Eiland, to the community in mid July, filling the vacancy left by Ed Shirley, who retired and moved to the Prattville area to be close to his family.

Tom Crenshaw, the Chairman of the church’s Staff Parish Relationship Committee, said this pastoral transition had nothing to do with ongoing deliberation of possible disaffiliation from the FUMC denomination that is taking place nationally. 

Crenshaw has great things to say about the church’s new pastor. 

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“We are happy to have Lance with us,” Crenshaw said. “We have enjoyed his sermons, Bible study teachings and his company here very much. He is a really nice guy with a good sense of humor.”

Eiland is an Andalusia native and first attended Troy University for his undergraduate degree before receiving his Masters in Divinity from Emory University.

The pastor said he has mostly served in churches around the Prattville and Selma area, and was living in Auburn when he excitedly accepted the pastoral position for the Greenville church.  

“Greenville has been a wonderful community,” Eiland said. “It has a lot of wonderful people in it, and I’ve been blessed to meet them both as members of the church and as members of the community at large. It feels a lot like home.”

Eiland has a five year old daughter named Anna Claire who he enjoys spending time with. 

The church recently resumed its Wednesday night program, Eiland said, and extends an invitation to the community to join them for a meal beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by a Bible study from 6-7 p.m. before choir practice from 7-8 p.m.

Eiland said he looks forward to getting to know more of the community and growing with the FUMC in Greenville. 

“I hope that the Church will grow in holiness, perfection and closer to God,” Eiland said. “We hope that if anyone in the community doesn’t have a church home, that they’ll come give us a try. Everyone is welcome.”