Garvin preached his first sermon at Big Springs in early July. Before coming to the local church, he was pastor of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Dahlonega where he served from November 2006 to June 17.
The couple has called Alpharetta home since 1990.
Garvin said he and his wife are, “very excited” and described the church as having “enormous potential.”
The church sits on 31 acres of land, with a fellowship hall Garvin says is a big plus for the facility.
“This is just an enormous opportunity for us to preach the Gospel, get the message out, and reach out as well,” he said of his new church family.
Garvin’s wife has recently completed the certification process to be recognized as a United Methodist local pastor.
“Anne is certified to become a local pastor, but has not received an appointment at the moment,” said Garvin about his wife. “She sings beautifully, preaches beautifully, and she’s just a great gal.”
After serving 15 years as a counselor for Dean Rusk Middle School in Cherokee County, she retired in June 2011. She is a licensed professional counselor and serves part time as a private therapist with the Dawson County Drug Court in Dawsonville.
The Garvin couple work together in counseling couples and conducting workshops on marriage and family intimacy.
They are associated with Mourning Dove Ministries in Roswell and have studied with Intimate Life Ministries in Austin, Texas.
They have seven children and 22 grandchildren and were formerly members of Roswell UMC and Birmingham UMC.
Both the Garvins continue to be active in the North Georgia Walk to Emmaus spiritual retreat weekends.
The Walk to Emmaus is a retreat of Christian spiritual renewal and formation that begins with a three-day short course in Christianity. “It’s a spring and fall renewal that’s put on. It takes place three times in the spring and three times in the fall, in which my wife and I are very active.”
Garvin is a freelance photographer with a passion for capturing nature’s beauty and documenting special events. His interests include tennis, chess, and reading. He is also a motorcycle enthusiast and rides a Victory cruiser.
“I love my motorcycle. The sense of being in the open air.” said Garvin. “I believe my Victory is very fitting for a pastor. It’s a cruiser, so I’m able to take trips as often as I can.”
Garvin attended Ocala High School in Ocala, Fla., and continued his education at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Once there, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.
Prior to his being called into ministry, Garvin held positions of responsibility in process consulting, account management, sales, and research engineering with several Fortune 100 corporations, including Lockheed-Martin Company and Digital Equipment Corporation.
Garvin’s spiritual journey was profoundly impacted after he experienced what he perceived to be personal failure at the age of 37.
“It was a big moment where my Lord and savior truly came into my life,” he said “God has a way of speaking to us through different medians in several different significances.”
Garvin began to pursue his religious journey in earnest and says those people in his life have played a big role in helping him.
“The people that have reached out and loved me and the guidance from other people. My wife is a big part of that,” he said of those who influenced him.
It was in a singles’ Sunday school class at Roswell UMC that Garvin met his wife, Ann, who he married in 1996. It was there he became a Methodist.
“After I met my wife nothing was the same. She’s great,” said Garvin.
During a Disciple Bible Study in the fall of 2000, Jim decided to formally pursue the path to becoming a local pastor for the United Methodist denomination.
In order to become a certified candidate of the UMC, Garvin decided to resign his full-time position as a disaster planning consultant for SunGard Corporation in the spring of 2001.
Big Springs United Methodist Church is located in Woodstock at 2066 Sugar Pike Road, just East of Georgia 140.
Worship is every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call (770) 475-1796.