In his honor, a Retirement Reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 13, in the Fellowship Hall of the church.
His final sermon at UMC will be June 20 with formal retirement effective June 24.
“I am not retiring from the ministry,” he said. “I will continue to serve part time at Burnt Hickory United Methodist Church in Paulding County.”
He has served in the ministry for 20 years but has been at First United Methodist for three years. He is a member of the Rockmart-Polk County Rotary Club and Rockmart - Aragon Ministerial Association.
Cunningham said he has enjoyed serving the Rockmart community and he and his wife Lynne will continue to reside here.
“I like the closeness of a small town which reminds me of my childhood years,” he said.
On June 1, the Ministerial Association met to recognize him. The member ministers signed a resolution.
The ministerial association also thanked him for his leadership and his willing service as president of the group during the past year. They invited him to continue to attend meetings and community events in Rockmart.
Serving the community is a focus of the group. Grants are being made available to Helping Hands for their food program. In addition, individual churches send monetary aid and food items to the local food pantry.
A grant was also given to help the new 4-C Organization provide Summer Camp this year.
The Ministerial Association is working with this organization to provide leadership and planning as they continue to develop the camp, scheduled during July or August.
Another new mission service has grown from the Presbyterian Backpack Ministry.
Working with the 4-C organization a summer lunch program will be provided for local children.
Beginning on June 14, the churches will provide sack lunches for school-age children involved in the program. The Polk County Nutritional Food Service with federal funding provides these lunches.
Those involved in the ministerial association emphasize that they are not just busy planning worship and celebratory services but reaching into the community to serve others.