We are calling this Sunday “the Steve and Marilyn Anthony Day” at Central Church. It’s Dr. Anthony’s second retirement party (Steve retired from being the District Superintendent on the Eastern Michigan District in 2013 and promptly started serving as the interim pastor at Central Church and, after my arrival, became Central Church’s Senior Adult Pastor). After 49 years of vocational ministry, he’s retiring again.
Of course, if you know Steve he’s not done. He has organized two Central Church Florida “snowbird” gatherings in January 2023. He is scheduled to preach at the Lakeland Holiness Camp in Florida this winter. He just preached a revival in Caro, Michigan. He won’t be done until Jesus calls him home. And good news, he and Marilyn aren’t leaving Central Church. They will probably be gone more since they won’t have official duties. They’ll stay in Florida longer. Visit family more often; but they will continue to be a part of the church. When Doc told me he was planning on retiring, I said, “OK, you can retire, but when you are here, I’d like you to do everything you were doing before you retired– only we won’t be paying you anymore.” That was not the best offer he heard that day.
Steve and Marilyn Anthony have been a delight to serve alongside. A delight! He has been a mentor and friend. When times get a little sticky, he has my back. When folks get a little “complainy,” he makes some phone calls. When younger staff want to try new things, he has been their biggest supporter. Steve and Marilyn Anthony are a big reason Central Church is a great church.
This Sunday, we will only have one service at 11AM (all Sunday School classes will meet at 9:30). Orpheus Choir from Olivet will be here. Greetings will be brought by current Eastern Michigan District Superintendent Dr. Mike Kitsko and former Olivet Nazarene University President, Dr. John Bowling. Dr. Anthony will be preaching. Following the service there will be a come and go reception. A few snacks to tide you over until lunch will be served. As you say thanks to Steve and Marilyn for their service to the Lord a thank you gift card to a favorite restaurant or store would be more than appropriate). It’s going to be a big day.
The Anthony’s have been a blessing to all the churches on the Eastern Michigan District. But they have been a blessing to Flint Central Church (in my opinion) the most. Not only helping though normal pastoral transitions, he led through the near total fire of the building in 1996, the death of pastor, Dr. Gavin Raath in 2004, and for the last nine years they have been a constant, faithful example to old and young alike. If you can’t tell, I absolutely love the Anthony’s. I will miss them when they are not here and rejoice with them when they are. I hope this Sunday will be a day they will always remember with great fondness.