After serving as the Senior Pastor at FPC for the last ten years, Whit Malone will be retiring in mid-2022.  Our congregation began the process of planning for the next chapter in the life of our church at the beginning of 2021.




    • At the January 2021 Session meeting, our Personnel Committee recommended that our congregation begin a process of succession planning.
    • In addition to the retirement of Whit Malone, another reason to begin this process is the opportunity to intentionally look to the next chapter in the life of our congregation.  It is vital that congregations do this kind of visioning and planning from time to time, and the time was great for our church to do it.  Covid has accelerated so many challenges and opportunities that churches will face in the years to come.  
    • Over the past few years, presbyteries are being more flexible with the transition process.  This development has allowed our congregation to begin the process while our current pastor is still serving our church.
  • Our Session approved the formation of a Mission Study Task Force.  This group of church members secured the help of an outside consultant to help them plan and guide a mission study.
  • The Mission Study Task Force members are Leila Doughton, Cynthia Honeycutt, Melvin Meares, Katherine Mull, Shannon Pleasant, Sarah Shumate, Dennis Stamper, Shirley Thomason, and Tony Watson.
  • The Mission Study Task Force gathered demographic data and elicited feedback from our congregation and community leaders with the goal of answering three questions:  1) Who are we? (Our identity), 2) Who are our neighbors? (Our community), and 3) What is God calling us to be and do in the years to come? (Our mission)
  • CLICK HERE to see the full report of the Mission Study Task Force.
  • CLICK HERE to see the detailed results of the survey.


  • Our church must get approval from our presbytery’s Committee on Ministry as we proceed through the steps of the process.  We had to ask this committee to allow the process to proceed while Whit Malone is still serving as our pastor.  This might eliminate the need for an interim pastor, and our request was approved.
  • The next step was to submit the results of the mission study survey to the presbytery’s Committee on Ministry with a request to form a Pastoral Nominating Committee, and our request was approved.
  • Our church’s Nominating Committee began the hard work of forming a slate for the committee.  After their hard work and approval from our Session, a congregational meeting was held, and a vote unanimously approved the slate.
  • CLICK HERE to see photographs and biographies of our Pastoral Nominating Committee.




  • The Pastoral Nominating Committee is using the information from the mission study survey to prepare our Ministry Information Form (MIF).  The MIF is the form which will be offered to potential candidates to help them know who we are.  
  • Our Session approved the MIF this January.  The Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry approved the MIF in early February.  Now, our PNC has begun the search!
  • CLICK HERE to view the Ministry Information Form, and CLICK HERE to see the MIF Narrative Questions.
  • The Pastoral Nominating Committee has prepared a video for their latest update.  CLICK HERE to learn more!
  • Check here for future updates!


237 2nd St. NW
Hickory, NC 28601

Tel: (828) 322-6343


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