By Richard Rourk
The Rev. Kim Isley-Selby recently bid farewell to Erwin’s Centenary United Methodist Church and started a new journey as pastor for Vermont United Methodist Church in Kingsport.
Isley-Selby has spent the last eight years at one of Erwin’s most historic churches.
“As I look back over our eight years as pastor, I feel blessed by almost all of my interactions with each one of the people I’ve met here,” Isley-Selby told The Erwin Record.
She admitted it’s a rather bittersweet time.
“I was welcomed here,” Isley-Selby said. “This congregation was with me when my husband Rev. Bill Beard was sick and we held his funeral here when he passed away. This congregation was here when my beautiful daughter Kaitlin Marin Isley Beard, graduated magna cum laude from ETSU (East Tennessee State University). This congregation was here when I married my current husband, Daryl Selby.”
Isley-Selby is the daughter of the late Rev. Walter Isley, an important figure in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. Now his daughter has left a legacy behind her at Centenary United Methodist Church.
“As I move on, I begin to think of the ministry I have done among you,” Isley-Selby said. “I have held the funerals of 17 of our people; and I have participated by attending 10 plus others.”
During the pandemic, she has worked to make sure everyone had access to church services.
“We had several who were unable to have a service, but I tended to their families by phone and/or in person,” she said. “I can’t count the hospital and home visits and goodness knows the thousands of phone calls.”
She also officiated for wedding ceremonies.
“I have only held two weddings, besides mine, a blessing of the rings and lastly, one vow renewal,” she said.
“I also have been blessed to teach Sunday school to the ‘Praying Parents’ for a year or two,” Isley-Selby said.
“Then I have also been blessed to teach the youth and children alongside both my partners in ministry — Daryl and Jessica (Casey) — this year,” she added. “Most special, though were the three classes of confirmation that I was blessed to lead where all our youth and children have joined the church either through baptism or confirmation of their faith.”
She said that the first class was the largest in the several years it has been offered.
“Each class has been special,” she noted.
As Centenary UMC prepares for a new direction with incoming pastor Linda Rozar set to take the helm at the church, Isley-Selby said that she wants to establish a foundation at Vermont United Methodist Church.
“I’m looking forward to getting started,” Isley-Selby said. “I have worked with so many amazing people here in Unicoi County. It’s hard to say goodbye to them all, especially our church secretary, Jessica Casey, who has been right there with me as we have served the community. I’m so grateful to have been able to work with the community and for the church to have been so great to allow me to work with the community. It’s been great, but I also do know when it’s time to move on.”
Isley-Selby started holding services at Vermont United Methodist Church in Kingsport on Sunday, June 3.