Fourteen years after he first stepped up to the pulpit at Antioch Christian Church in Vienna, the Rev. Eugene Buie stepped down.
"Tomorrow is the first day in retirement," said Buie, as he spoke to his congregation for the final time. "It came with relentless insistence, whether I was ready or not."
Every morning, it’s time to turn around and face the future, he said.
Approximately 90 Vienna-area residents belong to Antioch, the small white country-style church on Beulah Road.
"I’m wearing black because I’m in mourning because you are leaving," Lola Wayland of Vienna told Buie. Lola Wayland and her husband, Leonard, have been members of the church for two years, and wish they had found it earlier.
"I’ll truly miss his sermons," said Leonard Wayland. "Rev. Buie tells it like it is. He talks straight."
No new pastor is yet assigned to the church. A new parsonage has been built in Francis Young Estates, abutting church property. When the Buies leave the old parsonage, a modest brick rambler, it will be razed.
The congregation presented farewell gifts to Buie and his wife, Johannah, at a church luncheon after the service on Aug. 24.
Buie and his wife have no plans beyond the move to Harrisonburg. "We will wait to see what happens," Buie said. "We are all in God’s hands. We must go forward in faith … waiting to see what comes next."