First Presbyterian Church in downtown Rock Hill is welcoming its new senior pastor this weekend.
The Rev. Dr. John E. Cole and his wife, Bette, will meet their new congregation at a gala breakfast at 8:30 a.m. today. Cole will conduct his first worship service as pastor at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Cole comes to Rock Hill from Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Fla., after serving churches in Ormond Beach, Fla.; Somerset, Ky.; and The Davidson College Presbyterian Church in Davidson, N.C.
A native of Daytona Beach, Fl., Cole is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. He received a master of arts degree in history from the University of Virginia, a law degree from Florida State University and practiced environmental law before answering a call to ministry.
Cole received a master of divinity degree in 1998 and a doctor of ministry degree in 2005 from Columbia Theological Seminary, where he was awarded the Wilds Book Prize for Highest Academic Distinction, the Virginia Harrison Award and the Columbia Scholarship for Exceptional Academic and Leadership Abilities.
The Coles have two children, Jacob, 19, and Jessie Grace, 17. Jacob is a freshman at Davidson College, where he is a member of the Crew team. Jessie Grace is a high school senior in Ormand Beach.
Bette Cole is a graduate of Florida State University, where she studied sociology, and is a pre-school teacher.
Cole, a Presbyterian Church USA minister of word and sacrament, will be formally installed as senior pastor at 4 p.m. Feb. 24 at the church.