rEV. kEITH fRANKLIN, PASTOR
I joined the UMC after college. The Wesleyan theology of Grace changed my life. While I had been brought up in a Christian home, my idea of God was based in fear. Hearing about our God who loves people before they were aware of God: Prevenient Grace; and learning that when we understand our need for Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord: Justifying Grace; and with the assurance that God's Holy Spirit continues with us throughout life: Sanctifying Grace, filled my heart!
The idea of full time Christian service came after my first job in the textile industry. I joined First UMC, High Point and began to serve in various ministries. After struggling with a "call" to Ordained Ministry I went to seminary and have been a full time Pastor since 1986.
Amelia and I met when I served St. Mark's UMC in Belmont. We have been married for twenty three years and have served as partners in ministry at Randleman, Tryon, Greensboro, Jefferson, North Wilkesboro, Welcome, and Weaverville. We have family in Gaston and Rutherford Counties. We enjoy our little place in Tryon, NC which is in Polk County.
John 10:10 is my "Life Verse." I believe it gives a summary of the good news of Jesus Christ. The Lord has promised us ABUNDANT LIFE and that is the HOPE we share with others. My personal theology is based on this set of values that can be found in the Bible: "Life is Worth Living, People are Worth Loving, and God is Worth Trusting." My testimony is that you can depend upon God no matter what comes in life.
DR. mARY cOOKE, MUSIC DIRECTOR
A North Carolina native, Dr. Mary Lee Cooke was raised and presently resides in Mecklenburg County. After graduating from North Mecklenburg High School, she furthered her education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she received a DMA in Vocal Performance.
Dr. Cooke has been the Music Director here at New Salem since 2010. In the years prior to this, she served Methodist churches in Concord and Huntersville, N.C. In addition to directing church choirs, she has taught voice and performed in opera, oratorio and community theatre. Presently she is an Instructor at Central Piedmont Community College.
Dr. Cooke’s interest in Civil War history fueled her research in songs of that era created by Southern women. Her dissertation, Southern Women, Southern Voices: Civil War Songs by Southern Women, was published in 2008.