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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.




Latest Journal Update

Transition

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 inc heck, 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. 

Int he 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.

 





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Comments

22 Comments

William Tuck
By Bill Tuck — last edited
Guy:
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.
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Betsy Warren
By Betsy Warren
Guy,

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!
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Beverly Pennell
By
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.
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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.
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MJoanie Dickson
By
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)...
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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.
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Mary Pitts
By Mary Pitts
Your ministry has deepened my knowledge of the Bible and my Journey. You have feed my soul. I will forever be grateful to you.Thank you for your gift of giving your love to the people you have pastor-ed here at FBCA. And for loving my Jesus. Yes,I am very sad and I will miss you as my pastor. I pray for you that God's grace, mercy,love,and joy will be new each morning with opportunities to share with others what you have shared with your Family at FBCA for the past 13 years. In dealing with your health the last year you have inspired me and others whom I have shared your writings with. You and Anita are dear friends.Love to You, Anita,Elliot and Amanda. Gods blessing be with you all.
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Kara Kelley
By Kara Kelley
To say of your leaving the words sad...or happy...too little...for all the myriad ways God has blessed this church and this soul...through you! Missed...oh...already! Loved...never too big of a word...from a heart that is grateful! Journeying...a freed soul never tires of the feel of new tires on fresh pavement...and soar you shall! Godspeed dear Pastor...dear brother...and friend!
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Patricia Brown
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Dr. Guy, You have taught us much in the times we have visited FBC while here visiting our daughter who is a member of FBC. We are not members of FBC, just recently moved to the Ashville area. My husband & I have been keeping abreast of your health issues through your journaling on Caring Bridge. You always inspire us by sharing how God is walking with you on the journey set before you. We were in the service where you shared your message of following a new "unknown path". We will miss you & we will pray for you & Anita in the coming days ahead. So glad we will be here during the Advent season & to hear you share God's message to us. You are truly loved.
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Sandra Frempong
By Sandra Frempong & Family
Pastor Sayles,
Whoa, you are full of surprises! I didn't know how to respond to your news this morning; however, I was relieved that it was a resignation and not something worse. Dr. Sayles may the road rise up to meet you and may God's mercy and goodness be your constant companions. The maker of all things who is directing your path will lead you in the way that you should go! I thank you and wish the utmost best for you and everyone you hold dear. ~ Sandra
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