The Rev. Rodger Murchison, longtime associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Augusta, has announced his retirement.
The church position, in which he has served for 25 years, has been his first and only full-time job in ministry.
“It’s been an honor to serve in the lives of members of this church and the community,” said Murchison, 65.
His last Sunday as associate pastor of the church will be July 15. After that, Murchison plans to stay in Augusta and continue attending the church as a parishioner.
But first, Murchison will teach his final grief ministry workshop as associate pastor.
The workshops have been a hallmark of his ministry at the church, and taught twice annually for the past 15 years. A new class, both written and taught by Murchison, starts Sunday.
“It’s four Sundays where we gather, mostly widows and widowers, a few dozen people, to talk and to pray,” Murchison said. “We try to use the time to help and strengthen the survivors, those who have lost a loved one.”
The workshops are open to both non-members and members of the church.
“We welcome anyone. Some people are dealing with recent deaths. Others have people who died years ago,” he said. “We talk about grief as a journey. You can travel that road alone, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.’
Last year, Murchison released his first book, Guide for Grief. In retirement, he plans to write a supplemental manual to accompany the book that would help others lead workshops like those at First Baptist.
“I think in retirement there will be plenty to do,” he said. “I am most grateful for these 25 years here. They have taught me so much. I came in as a rookie. The church was willing to teach me and encourage me, so I could learn to teach and encourage others.”