Abrams will miss ‘Mayberry’
June 20, 2012
By JESSICA WILLIAMS
Changes are abundant for Bud and Jan Abrams, but it’s just another day in the life of the First Baptist Church pastor and his wife.
“It’s just been crazy, but no more crazy than normal,” Bud Abrams said.
A media center is being installed in the church, disrupting the regular flow,. Also, the Abrams’ home is for sale because Bud Abrams is in the process of retiring after 13 years in the community.
“This is the story of our life, always doing something,” said Jan Abrams, who retired almost three years ago from Family Centered Services as an in-home counselor. “We keep thinking we’ll retire and we’ll rest. Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen because that’s not in us, just (to) do nothing.”
The couple moved to Bluffton from Erie, Pa., but at first they were skeptical.
“Jan didn’t want to come,” Bud Abrams recalled.
“We both grew up in a small town, very small town,” Jan Abrams explained. “But this was like going to Mayberry to me.”
Her thoughts were solidified when they found out a church member has a car that was used in “The Andy Griffith Show” and has the show’s theme song on his answering machine.
Bud Abrams had his own doubts, but even though 50 churches contacted him with openings, he knew they had to move to Bluffton.
“All I can is that I really knew that God was leading us here,” he said.
And they’ve been here ever since.
“We love it,” Jan Abrams said.
She said she kept looking for signs to accept the move, and was appeased when their Pennsylvania home was sold within days of talking to a real estate agent.
“OK, I got it,” she recalled saying, laughing and looking towards the ceiling.
“I love our church and I love our community,” Bud Abrams said. “It’s a place where Jan and I both have had an opportunity to be active in the community and do a lot of things in a lot of areas.”
He said they rarely missed Bluffton High School basketball games and even regularly attended BHS graduations.
Both felt they fit in the community well professionally. Bud Abrams said his wife was an active player in domestic violence awareness throughout the county and he helped to increase the fellowship between the county’s pastors.
He said he’s going to miss a lot of things about Bluffton.
“I can’t go to Walmart without spending an extra 15 minutes talking to people,” he said. “And I’m really going to miss that.”
“The connections, friendships,” Jan Abrams added.
The two are planning on moving to Florida and are looking forward to seeing their kids and grandchildren.
Bud Abrams said he’ll miss being a pastor after a 45-year career, but it will be nice to escape and do nothing for a few weeks.
“As a pastor there’s just a hurt with people when they go through the hard times of life,” he said. “Death, but as bad as death, when people have someone that’s seriously sick. Just (to) have all the hurts that are there. Just for awhile it’ll be really nice not to even think about it. Not to even think about anyone else’s problems. It hurts.”
Jan Abrams said she saw a freedom in her profession in Bluffton that she didn’t see elsewhere, where she could use her work like a ministry and talk about spirituality with clients.
“This area that still has that freedom to express your faith was kind of different ... I hope that never gets lost,” she said.
Bud Abrams said he feels a connection not just to his church, but also to the community and to other pastors and said that connection is stronger here than he’s experienced elsewhere in his entire career.
Because the church is still looking for his replacement, Bud Abrams said they could be moving as early as the end of July or as late as the end of October.
“My ideal would be two weeks after (the) Street Fair because I love (the) Street Fair,” he said.
But when the time does come, the Abrams are going to miss this Mayberry-like town.
“It’s going to be hard to leave here,” Bud Abrams said. “It’s going to be really hard.”