The South Ward’s future

South Ward Councilman Jim Coston’s decision to resign his office at the end of the summer means South Ward residents face the prospect of the remaining council members picking a successor for the popular city legislator.

Some possible contenders for the seat include Juan Carlos Avila, a community organizer and son of the editor of The Trentonian’s Latino newspaper, Lamberton Street resident Patricia Stewart, city schools employee Juan Martinez, and a few others.

Those seeking to occupy the South Ward seat for the final 10 months of Mr. Coston’s term, which ends on June 30, 2010, will no doubt commence with personal lobbying campaigns with the current council.

Mr. Coston apparently made the decision to move his family to Waco, Texas, where he will be taking over a church.

Below is the text of a letter he sent out to constituents following his resignation announcement:

Dear friends,
As you may know, I announced that I would be leaving Trenton at the end of August.  [to read my statement, go here:]  This will amount to my resigning as South Ward City Councilman effective September 2.
The decision was not easy.  I love Trenton; my family loves Trenton.  Trenton is all my kids know.  And yet, the narrative of this story reveals the persistence of God.
In March of 2008, Calvary Baptist Church, a congregation in Waco, TX, contacted me about becoming their senior pastor.  Calvary is a multi-ethnic church located in the 20th poorest zip code west of the Mississippi river.  Like Trenton, Waco needs employment opportunities, has an underfunded school system and other economic challenges.  Calvary sought someone who could connect their social outreach to the evangelical mission of the church.
I was flattered that they had sought me out.  I was also not interested and told them so.  First Baptist Trenton was growing; the South Ward was progressing; the City was moving forward, albeit with occasional setbacks.
In February of this year, Calvary called back.  I do want to point out that at no time did I send out resumes or seek job offers.  A member of Calvary had a connection to me from our time in Seminary over a decade ago and thought that my gifts would complement the church.  While still disinterested, I did feel God’s push to at least engage in conversation with this church.  Over the course of three months, after learning about the church and informing them of my work here, witnessing God opening doors and closing others, my wife and I felt a clear and distinct call to pull up our deep roots here and relocate to Waco.
We do this with heavy hearts.  Aside from being constituents, many of you are friends and people that I admire personally.  We will deeply miss Trenton and all that it contains.
Moving forward, I will continue to pursue completion on some of the works in progress.  While a lame duck, I still represent you through Sept. 1 and will do so with the same energy and passion that I have exhibited heretofore.  Because of the intentional timing of my departure, the City Council will have the opportunity to appoint someone to fill the remainder of my term, insuring that there is not a representation gap for the South Ward.  I do have someone in mind that I will advocate for and in coming weeks, I will try to put this individual in touch with many of you.
I appreciate the time we have spent, and will spend, together.  I remain here to serve your needs until a successor is chosen.

God Bless,
Jim Coston
Councilman, South Ward, Trenton


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