For this month’s newsletter I’d like to introduce you to our new Preschool Director, Heather Kerns. Heather grew up in Chesterfield and attended Monacan High School. She went on to graduate from VCU with a master’s degree in Education. She taught kindergarten for five years at Reams Road Elementary School. Heather’s husband Tommy works as a corporate executive at Haley Automotive Group. Heather and Tommy have three sons, Peyton 12, Braxton 9 and Landon 7. The Kerns are a baseball family. All three boys play baseball. Peyton actually started playing at age three. Both Tommy and Heather coach baseball. In fact, they’re entering their 17th season of coaching. Heather is also a long distance runner. She’s run 6 marathons and close to 50 half marathons. She said long distance running, “Is a battle of the will to push yourself when your body tells you to stop.” Among all of these activities she somehow finds time to be the president of the PTO for Flatrock Elementary school.
Heather grew up going to Woodland Heights Baptist Church where both of her parents were Sunday School teachers. The Kerns attend Passion Community Church. Heather began working at Bethel’s Preschool as a substitute teacher, then taught full time in 2019 and she’s now our Director. I asked Heather what attracted her to the role of Preschool Director and to Bethel’s Preschool. She said, “Both Braxton and Landon attended Bethel Preschool and it felt so different from other preschools. Braxton, who hardly left my side, walked in and immediately began to thrive with Glenda as a teacher. One incident really stuck out to me about the Preschool. Braxton learned about Charlotte’s Food Pantry in Glenda’s class and that year for his birthday he decided that instead of presents he wanted people to donate to the food pantry. When I saw how the Preschool spoke to my child, I felt such a calling to be here in some way. When the job of Preschool Director came open, I thought that this would be an even bigger opportunity to pour myself back into the children and community to lead them into a faith driven life and start them off at a young age.” I asked Heather what her hopes and dreams are for the Preschool. She said, “I just want to make sure that the reputation of Bethel’s preschool remains positive and continues to grow, not only in terms of numbers, but in terms of depth of faith.
I’ve got big shoes to fill coming in after Carter and I want to make her proud. I’m thrilled to be here and grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to see how the program moves forward in the coming years. It’s a culmination of all of my passions for education, children, and my faith. My children led me here and I feel like it’s come full circle. This is where I’m supposed to be.” I asked Heather how she knew that the Lord led her to Bethel. She said “I feel a peace and a comfort I haven’t felt in a long time. Even though we’re in Covid I know all will be fine, I just have to trust. There’s a calmness and things will work the way they’re supposed to work out.”
They’re a couple of things that stuck out to me in my conversation with Heather. First, I appreciate and applaud her goal of teaching our preschoolers how to live “faith driven lives.” That’s the goal not only for the preschool, but for our church as well. My hope is that each one of us can allow our faith in Christ to permeate all areas of our lives and that every day will be lived out to the glory and honor of Christ. The second thing that spoke to me is the peace and comfort Heather has in taking on this new role. When we face a decision in life, the presence, or absence, of that peace is a pretty good indicator of God’s will. When that deep, internal peace is present, that’s a good sign of the Lord’s leading. I’m delighted that the Lord led Heather to us and Heather is correct, she’s got big shoes to fill. I want to thank Carter Cosgrove for her many years of dedicated and faithful service to Bethel and I ask you to join me in welcoming Heather to our Bethel church family. Please pray for her, our preschool teachers and students, that God would work through them to help them lead faith driven lives. May God bless Heather and her family. May God bless our preschool and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church. Amen.