Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Bethel United Methodist Church family managed to find a way to honor retiring Pastor Earle Baker.
Led by Lewes Fire Department fire engines, a parade of about 50 cars slowly rolled past the church on West Fourth Street June 21, a surprise following Baker’s final service. Baker was joined outside the church by his wife Lisa and son Andy.
Baker has been the church’s pastor for the last seven years. His retirement concludes a 40-year career that has taken him to several other churches on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Baker and his family will remain in the area and hope to return to renew their fellowship at Bethel in about a year.
In the meantime, Bethel will soon welcome new pastor James Penuel III, who comes to Lewes from Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville.
“We know you’ll be in good hands with Pastor Jim and his wife Amber,” Baker said. “All I ask is that you love them the way you loved us. Support them.”
At the conclusion of his final service, Baker thanked the Bethel family for its support during his seven-year tenure and said he hopes to meet everyone again one day; if not in person, then in heaven.
“Until that day, I will not say goodbye. I will say God bless you. May Christ continue to increase in you. So long. Farewell. And we shall meet again.”