I Appreciate You, Pastor Estep.

Saturday night I said to Jennifer, “I feel like I want to go see Estep tomorrow.”

Dr. Estep’s retirement is kind of a big deal for our community. It’s also a little bit of an end of an era for me.

As he preached his last sermon in what I think is one of his later model suits, I remembered waking up Sunday’s as a freshman at USC to sit with my grandparents to watch Dr. Estep. I remember Dr. Estep marrying my aunt, Cindy Jones Walter. I remember Kinsey’s 8th-floor hospital room facing the steeple of what I would call his signature achievement, the new FBC sanctuary. I wasn’t present at the time, but I remember that he visited Kinsey before she passed away, too (It is to be noted that we were not members of the church at the time). I’m 45 now and I appreciate his visit to this day.

While we were never super close, I always enjoyed and appreciated Dr. Estep being the pastor of the church I’ve spent most of my life (thus far). It was a relationship such that I was proud that he was the leader of my church. As I think about it, it’s sort of like not knowing your company CEO, or U.S. Senator, but respecting him or her enough to not need to.

I was proud of my eight-year-old and four-year-old twins as they sat in “big church” with their daddy. I used to cringe at a crying or noisy kid in a big sanctuary, but I trusted my three today and they were perfect. They don’t understand the significance of why they were in big church, but it was a good and proud daddy moment for me and I’m happy they got to see Dr. Estep.

Congratulations, Dr. Estep. We were lucky to have you.

Franklin Jones

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