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Guy’s Story

I have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and, on this site, I will provide updates as I have them.  I will also treasure messages of encouragement and promises of prayer. I am trusting the words of Juliana of Norwich:

God did not say: You will not be troubled, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted; but he said: You will not be overcome.  God wants us to pay attention to those words and always be strong in faithful trust, in well-being and in woe, for he loves us and delights in us, so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust greatly in him, and all will be well. . . . [The Lord says most comfortingly]: I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well; and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well.

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What follows is the text of a letter I read to the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Asheville at this morning’s worship service.  Please pray both for me and for that wonderful faith-community as we enter this season of transition.

Dear Friends,

Across this year, you have lovingly walked with me through my diagnosis with multiple myeloma, early rounds of chemotherapy, and the challenging experience of a stem-cell transplant. The very good news, as most of you know, is that the cancer is in remission. To lengthen that remission and keep the cancer in check, I have begun additional chemotherapy treatments. I am deeply thankful.

As I have dealt with this difficult diagnosis and with the effects of treatment, I have experienced, viscerally and powerfully, the truth of the promise that“nothing can separate us from the love of God” made known and real to us in Jesus. I have been to the edge and to the bottom, and God’s tender and tenacious love has met me in those hard places. 

For some time now—for longer than I have known that I have cancer—I have been pondering prayerfully Mary Oliver’s question, “Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Cancer has brought that question into even bolder relief. 

In the thirteen years I have served as your pastor, we have been and done church together in ways that were possible because of your commitment and openness. We have renovated and expanded our landmark building and opened both it and our hearts to welcome our community; started new ministries in our city and region,especially to the “least of these”; shifted our membership policies to include among us everyone God has included in the church universal; put in place a collaborative model of ministry; and, in many other ways, made progress toward our being, at the intersection of our culture and the Kingdom of God, a community of faith, centered on Jesus and committed to his purposes in the world. 

You have been amazingly supportive, encouraging, and affirming. You have been the church I needed during this season of my life. You have helped me to grow as a person and as a minister. When I have made mistakes, you have worked with me to correct them. When I have been in the wrong, you have challenged me to reconsider what I said or did.  When I have needed grace and mercy, you have given them generously.  I love you and believe in you.   

It is time, though, for my response to God’s call to me as a human being, as a follower of Jesus, and as a minister of the gospel to shift in significant ways.There are dimensions of that call which I need to explore more directly than I can while also serving as your pastor. After much reflection and prayer, I submitted my resignation to our Deacons this past Thursday night (October 16, 2014). My last Sunday will be January 11, 2015. 

I believe that I have given you the best gifts I have had to give, and I also believe that the next season of the church’s life, a season which is very bright with possibility, invites the talents and vision of a new pastor. That new pastor will step into a healthy, creative, and vibrant community of faith.Our gifted and resourceful ministerial staff and a team of wise and committed lay-leaders will continue to guide and care for the church.

I do not know what I am going to do. For the first time in my life, I am resigning from a job without already having one lined-up. Even though I am uncertain about what my next work will be, I am certain that my time as your pastor is ending. So, like Abraham and Sarah, I am setting out in response to what I believe to be God’s call without knowing where I am going. I trust, as I have said to you across these years, that God will give me everything I need to live the life God is calling me to live.

Grace and peace,

Guy Sayles

On Wednesday night, October 22, at 6:00 PM, in the Chapel, we’ll have an opportunity for further conversation about my decision. I hope you will make plans to join me.


10 people hearted this



Rebecca Wooten
By Rebecca Wooten
I listened to your resignation Sunday with tears. I really cannot express my feelings. You are such a part of my family. You've baptized my 3 children, presented Molly with her first grade Bible, graduated high school with Patrick and Bishop, mourned with us as we buried two parents and a 23 year old nephew, and celebrated all things with us. Your wisdom will follow us through to the end. My prayer for you is continued health and spending as much time with your own family as you have with our church family. I hope that you continue to study and write as you go along this new journey. God knows what you need!
Love and prayers!
1 person hearted this
Michael Hester
By Michael Hester
I read your letter with great sadness and respect. I regret I was unable to be there Sunday. We had houseguests, treasured friends who spent Sunday morning visiting. I believe in you and what you're doing. I continue to hold you in my heart and in the light!
1 person hearted this
Deborah Kloos
Dear Guy, as soon as you announced your resignation, I immediately thought of one of my favorite scripture passages, Deut. 32:10-11 as it seems to apply so well to both what you have already been through as well as your fresh calling: "In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste.He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him."
Guy, although we are sad that you will no longer be our pastor, we are excited for what God surely has in store for you as you take this leap of faith! Although this is NOT all about me :): as you are aware, over the past couple of years I've known God was calling me to do something different but I really didn't know what. And I really have you to blame for His insistent "nudging"! Practically every sermon you've preached, every word you've written, has helped me move closer to His call and finally plunge over the side of my nest as I finally made the decision to retire and move into whatever God might have waiting for me now. I am so very grateful for your faithfulness to God's Word and His call on YOUR life, because it's helped so many of us begin to ask the same questions you have -- about our own priorities and wanting to make the most of our own "one wild and precious life". As you are placed in a position of total dependence on God's grace and direction, I pray you and Anita will be reminded over and over again that The Good Shepherd is totally trustworthy to provide for your EVERY need. We're all standing on tiptoe at the edge of our own nests, praying for you as you lead the way, catching that updraft and soaring into the heights!
1 person hearted this
Dorothy Porter
By Dorothy and Bob Porter
Although I’m filled with mixed emotions, I respond with a willing, grateful, and hopeful heart, for you and all of us, as I hear our Father saying, “If you have two shirts, share with the person who does not have one. If you have food, share that also.” Luke 3:11 (NCV)

Guy, you have persisted in giving us such precious guidance on how to spiritually clothe and feed ourselves ... I’m happy for those who don’t even know yet that they will be coming into some extraordinary new clothes and food! I’m willing to share you and your gifts, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be hard. Know that we are praying for God’s guidance in your next-steps, and rejoicing with you and Anita for your new found health and awaiting adventures.
1 person hearted this
William Tuck
By Bill Tuck — last edited
I really do not know how to respond to your announcement other than to say that Emily and I love and respect you. We watched how you met your illness with courage and deep insight and believe that you will respond to this next chapter in the same way. As you follow your personal sense of call into this "unknown" chapter, we assure you of our continued love and support. I pray that you will have a strong awareness of God's presence and love during this time of transition. God bless you.
1 person hearted this
Betsy Warren
By Betsy Warren

I know there is both heartache and celebration for you and the FBCA family. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly and generously with this entire community for so long.

I pray for you God's astonishing abundance of mercy, grace, peace, healing and laughter as you travel forward. I will be praying the same things for the FBCA family, with all my heart.

May the road rise to meet you!
1 person hearted this
Beverly Pennell
Oh, Guy, it is the same feeling we have when we send our children off on the bus to kindergarten or leave them in their dorm rooms at college or kiss their cheek at the altar when they wed or hand back their newborns when they become parents. The circle of life is always mixed with joy for your new path but some heartache for us, knowing all the while that God journeys with you on your new path and heals our hearts and set us on a new path. You will always be in our hearts, nevertheless.
1 person hearted this
John Tagliarini
By John Tagliarini
Thank you for supervising our DMin field experience. Thank you for your faithful service to your church family and God's world. Thank you for being a friend of insight and compassion.
1 person hearted this
MJoanie Dickson
Thank you Dr Guy Sayles for Blessing my home in 2008...thank you for seeing there is more in me than my past and supporting my entering Gardner-Webb's M'Div program...one of the most inspirational men that I have ever known in my life...our church will never be the same...I am thrilled, however, are doing what he needs to do for you, your health, and your family...still heartbroken, but completely respect you, your amazing and beautiful family, and all you each have brought to not only FBCA, but to the greater Asheville community, and region...not only Sunday's & Wednesday's, but all you have done (& that I know you will continue to do)...
1 person hearted this
Buddy Corbin
By Buddy Corbin
I have said to you on more than one occasion, "you are a gift to me." The news of your departure has left me with a mixture of sad and glad feeling. Upon reflection, I'm glad because I know God will "continue what he has begun in you" and will, through his Spirit, enable the congregation and vision you've set before us to join in this continuous journey. You are a remarkable servant, Guy, and I'm fully confidant God will make known the open door and next step through its threshold. We'll all be grieving this loss for a long while, while anticipating the good news of a long and lasting re-mission of strength for your incredible ministry.
4 people hearted this