Kerr out of associational ministry.
Leland Kerry, director of missions for two years at Wilmington Baptist Association, is returning to the pastorate at Eastside Baptist Church in Shelby, which he left in 2006 to come to Wilmington.
“I never anticipated this to come about,” said Kerr, who is first vice president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “But it is the right thing.”
Kerr has decided not to seek re-election to that BSC office in November “to give Eastside more time” so he can “lead them like I should and attend to their needs.” Kerr had been second vice president for two terms before his election as first vice president.
Kerr’s returns to the Eastside pulpit Aug. 31. An interim pastor led the church the past two years, so Kerr said, “I’m replacing myself!”
“We feel a true sense of call and discernment,” Kerr said. “I’m happy to minister with them again and to love that congregation some more.”
In a sense, he said, he feels his time away from the church has been a sabbatical.
Eastside called Kerr originally in 2002 away from his role as director of missions in what is now the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association. He served Eastside four years before going to Wilmington.
In a March 2008 story in the Biblical Recorder, Kerr said he has, “wanted to be a part of associational work from my earliest days.” He also reiterated his commitment to the local church, and now a local church has called him back to the pulpit.
Kerr’s wife Robyn transferred from UNC-Wilmington to Gardner-Webb University to finish her nursing degree, and their Shelby house had not sold during the two years away. Still, when the Eastside search committee called Kerr’s first response was “no.”
“Then they used the line on me that I’d used many times on them,” Kerr said. “They asked me to pray about it.”
Michael Moore will be interim director of missions in Wilmington beginning Sept. 15, Kerr said.