One of the most vivid memories I have as a child is watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. If you’re unaware of this highly impressive ritual that is executed with precision and strict protocol, do yourself a favor and learn more about it. And if you’re ever in our nation’s capital, you definitely need to make this part of your experience.
Another impressive Washington, D.C. experience is observing the peaceful transition of power from one President to another. The swearing-in ceremony is fascinating, as we watch one leader respectfully step aside, while the newly-elected leader steps forward and pledges to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. The handing-off of the leadership baton in this manner is a gift we as Americans many times take for granted. In some places this change in leadership is marked by violence and is anything but peaceful.
Although the shift in leadership of The Love Akron Network can hardly be compared to that of the presidency of the United States, it’s a significant moment for those who love and support this ministry. Monday, April 8, Kemp Boyd assumed the role of Co-Executive Director of The Love Akron Network. On Tuesday we met together as a staff and prayed for our team and rejoiced at God’s goodness in bringing us to this place. Tuesday night we shared a meal and had a mini-commissioning of Kemp and his wife, Stacy, with both board and staff praying over them and their family. It was a beautiful time and a wonderful way to welcome the Boyds to our Love Akron family.
Kemp and I will serve side-by-side until the Love Akron Annual Awards Breakfast on September 24, and then he will take the reigns as the Executive Director. The Breakfast will be my final public event, and the hand-off, or the changing of the guard if you will, will take place. I have every confidence that the leadership of The Love Akron Network is in the hands of an amazingly capable leader. I’m committed to doing everything I possibly can to ensure a peaceful, successful transition for Kemp and also for Love Akron, which after 24 years, is in my DNA.
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Kemp for several years and have observed his rise to leadership in our community. His excellent leadership was pivotal in the success of the merging of two local high school football programs into one, which is now known as Kenmore-Garfield. He is an alumnus of Leadership Akron and its Marquee Class 33, where he was elected as class president. For the past ten-and-a-half years, he has worked for Red Oak Behavioral Health, formerly Pastoral Counseling Service (PCS) of Summit County, a community mental health center here in Akron, as the Director of Outpatient Services.
Although his credentials are quite impressive, it’s not this public recognition that defines him as a man. First and foremost, he is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ and secondly, he’s a committed family man. He and his wife, Stacy, have been married almost 14 years and have 6 children. I’m sure Kemp will introduce them to you when he writes this weekly message in a few weeks. He’s a wonderful father and husband but also a respected community leader and leader in his local church.
I look forward to walking shoulder to shoulder with Kemp for the next 5 months as this “year of transition” for The Love Akron Network comes to an end. I’m confident that his giftings and experience have positioned him well to lead Love Akron into a higher level of impact in our community. My role as one of the founders of this Network was to build a foundation of trust, organizational structure, operational infrastructure, and mission that Kemp will now build upon. I couldn’t be more excited or pleased that Kemp has been chosen as my successor.
I, along with the Board of Directors, ask for your continued prayers and also your financial support, as we continue to do the work of this ministry and also to make important decisions before my departure. I believe the best is yet to come, and I know we will celebrate together both what God has done and also what God has yet planned for The Love Akron Network. May God be glorified above all during this changing of the guard.