In the mid-nineties Saron UCC was a growing church full of life, making a great impact in the community. Jeff Fulk married his wife Laurie and found his way to her hometown to raise their two boys. Her family attended Saron and soon the young parents did too. They became active in many things; the Good Times group, Sunday School classes, fellowship events, and especially serving as youth leaders to our middle school and high school kids.
It was also around the time that J.D. Rose's family moved to Linton. A teammate on the football team encouraged J.D. to visit Saron and he knew it was home instantly. He sang in the Youth Choir and Adult Choir, was a leader within youth group, offered a children's moment now and then, and helped to start the 5th Quarters after football and basketball games.
In 1995 Jeff and Laurie took the youth of Saron (J.D. included) to Shannondale Community Center; a UCC mission to the Ozark Hills in Missouri and God placed a call on their hearts to serve there. For 23 years Jeff Fulk served as the Director of Shannondale Community Center and the Pastor of the UCC church in Timber, MO.
J.D. graduated from Linton-Stockton High School and headed to college, was a full-time youth minister eighteen months later and has served in ministry for nearly all of the time since within the UCC or our sister denomination the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) As a Youth Pastor, Christian Educator, Associate Pastor, Founding Pastor, and Senior Pastor of churches in Indiana and then Texas J.D. has been blessed to be a minister far away from home over the last twenty years as he gained great experience in many capacities.
But in 2017 everything changed for both of these men. Ministry journeys that had led them away from Saron UCC came to an end and family responsibilities brought them both back to the area. Jeff and Laurie needed to be close to family and J.D's new wife Jesslayn wanted to continue her education in Bloomington. When the pulpit became empty in the Fall of 2017 Saron turned to these two prodigal sons to preach for six months on a rotating schedule. They both felt blessed to be a part of Saron's transition as they searched for a new Pastor.
And then, the Search Committee for Saron's new Pastor approached the two with an out of the box idea: what if J.D. and Jeff were the Pastors God had in store for Saron all along? After much prayer and some formal discussions with the two candidates, an official proposal from the search committee, approval by our Consistory, and a vote of the congregation J.D. Rose was hired as Saron's Senior Pastor and Jeff Fulk as our Associate Pastor on April 8, 2018.
They have been on the job since Sunday April 29. They were officially installed as our Pastors in a one of a kind Installation Service July 15, 2018. (Should you want to see that click here.) J.D. and Jeff are both incredibly excited to be back home and Saron is grateful to have them.