Children’s Ministry Announcement:
Cynthia McElrath to retire, Mark Burrows named as her successor
April 27, 2011
Dr. Bruster announced this past Sunday that Cynthia McElrath, our Director of Children’s Ministries, has decided to retire at the end of January 2011. Mark Burrows, our current Director of Music Ministries, will become the Director of Children’s Ministries upon her retirement.
Cynthia joined the staff in 1986 and has lovingly guided our Children’s Ministry for nearly 25 years. Over the years FUMC’s ministry to children has enriched the lives of thousands of children and their families. Under her leadership we were able to build a children’s wing to our building – which offered the space to expand our Sunday School program, our Preschool and Parents’ Day Out Program. In 2000, she was the driving force behind the church’s adoption of a new children’s education concept – rotation model Christian Education. Our version of the program is called Quest. It is a hands-on education model that lets children see, touch and fully experience their Bible lessons. She also has worked as a consultant with Cokesbury in building the rotation model curriculum for use nationally. Our Children’s ministry has benefited from her leadership in many ways. She was instrumental in creating the Harriet Griffin Children’s Mission Camp, Touch the Water and Taste the BreadSacramentsSchool, shifted the Confirmation program to a year-long format and created the Giving Tree program that shares the joy and love of Christmas with the children of T.A.SimsElementary School.
Mark Burrows has been on staff since 1995 as our Music Director. He oversees our music and the fine arts programming. Mark taught music in the Dallas ISD and served as Music Director at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Irving, Texas. He is a gifted composer and has worked with Cokesbury for six years in the development of the UMC Rotation Model of Christian Education and has composed over 250 songs for the national church’s rotation model curriculum. He has two new books published by Abingdon Press: Wow Time, a collection of 52 Children’s sermons, and Children First, a book and enhanced CD about children and family worship. Many of you have seen Mark in action with the children during our Children’s Moment during worship – that “spark”, playfulness, and humor is very much a part of Mark’s personality. Mark is a gifted musician and teacher and will artfully lead our Children’s Ministry to new heights.
He will continue to lead our choirs until the end of December this year. In January and February he will work side by side with Cynthia in the Children’s Ministry as part of a transition plan. Mark will continue to direct the Youth Choir and Lindy Cabe will continue to direct the children’s choir and Junior Worship Leaders under Mark’s supervision. There will be an interim choral director following the transition until a new director is named. The staff parish relations committee will begin the search this fall.
We will miss Cynthia’s sense of humor, her devotion and her obvious love for our children… and at the same time we welcome Mark and know that his passion for children will lead our children’s program to a new level.