On Thanksgiving Day, instead of feasting on turkey and stuffing, Scott Patterson and his family of four were stuffing their belongings into a truck in Florida and driving to their new home in Grovetown.
Formerly the leader of Mount Dora Church of Christ in Mount Dora, Fla., Patterson, 38, is the new pulpit minister at Central Church of Christ on Old Petersburg Road in Martinez.
"We had a nice meal along the way," Patterson said of the Thanksgiving trip. "The next day, (we) unpacked. We worked right up until we left" Florida.
Patterson has a bachelor of arts degree in Bible from Faulkner University and was working on his master's degree in counseling at Troy University in Orlando before the move. He might resume his studies at the Troy satellite campus in Augusta, he said.
Sunday was Patterson's first at Central Church of Christ. Monday was the first day of school for his oldest son, Bradley, 14, an eighth-grader at Columbia Middle School. His youngest son, Cameron, 5, is not yet enrolled in a pre-kindergarten program.
Patterson said the move went well, and he thinks his family is settling in nicely.
"Everybody is really friendly," he said. "There's a nice dynamic to the community because you seem to have a lot of people here who have come from a lot of different places."
Columbia County, however, is not altogether foreign to Patterson and his wife, Renee. Her sister and brother-in-law live in Evans, and Patterson said the family of his elementary school bus driver and a college professor's family attend Central Church of Christ.
Columbia County also is much closer to Renee Patterson's family in Birmingham, Ala., her husband said.
Gene Kessinger, an elder at Mount Dora Church of Christ in Florida, said of the couple, "We're going to miss them both a lot; they were real assets to the community."
"We really enjoyed their family a lot, and we watched them grow," he said.
Kessinger called Patterson an enthusiastic preacher of the gospel, adding that he also has a passion for country music and a penchant for bow ties.
A native of Ozark, Ala., Patterson said he decided on Central Church of Christ because "it seems like a great place with a lot of opportunities in a good location with excellent facilities and really the right mind-set and the leadership to grow."
Central Church of Christ has about 100 more members than the 350-member Mount Dora, he said.
"The nature of the work will be different," Patterson said. Mount Dora "was a sleepy community, a retirement community ...whereas this is a church in a metropolitan area and things are growing, and people are moving in and out.
"I just want to pursue things with a lot of enthusiasm. I think that's the most contagious thing there is, is enthusiasm. If people approach things in positive ways and demonstrate a lot of love and enthusiasm about who they are and what they offer and what we're all about, that's the best way to grow a church."
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