How long have you been at JRUMC? How long have you been in your role?
I was the interim pastor at JRUMC for the first six months of 2017 and my second interim pastorate will be through June, 2021.
What do you like about being a pastor?
In my 35 years under appointment in the NY Annual Conference of the UMC, I always enjoyed preparing for worship. I find exploring Scripture to be exciting, and helping to reveal the majesty of God's Word for the present day to be a great honor. Visitation of church members and constituents is mostly a joy as you can really get to know people and truly relate to and with them. I like to get down on the floor with children and have fun with them. VBS, toddler assistance, children's messages at worship - these are all challenging but also invigorating. Teaching Confirmation classes and adult studies is also a facet of ministry that I really enjoy.
Tell us a little about your family.
My wife, Karen, who is my best friend, my soul-mate, my confidant, my earthly everything, and I have been married for 44 years, since May of 1976. We have been blessed with two children, Lisa, a speech and language pathologist, who is married to Forrest, a college English professor; they are the parents of Noah (age 11) and Caleb (almost 9), and live in Connecticut. Our son, Christopher, who lives in Towson, Maryland works for a software company specializing in servicing smaller venue entertainment events.
What are your favorite hobbies or interests?
I am an avid baseball memorabilia collector. I also enjoy photography, taking long walks - especially on trails in the woods alongside rivers and streams if possible, and traveling, mostly to national parks in the U.S. I also have "a thing" for rocks and minerals; these have always fascinated me. And I would be remiss if I did not let you know that I really like butterflies and have even raised monarchs from the egg on two different occasions. Zoos and animals also have deep meaning for me.
Where did you go to school and college?
I am a 1967 graduate of the DeWitt Clinton H.S. in the Bronx, New York (then the world's largest all-boys H.S. with a total enrollment of about 7,000 students); a 1971 graduate of City College in NYC; and a 1980 graduate of the Candler School of Theology on the Emory University campus in Atlanta, from whom I received my Master of Divinity degree.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
This is almost impossible for me to answer! There are so many verses and stories that mean a great deal to me. Many of the Psalms hold deep meaning for me. The prophecy of the coming Christ in the beginning of Isaiah 9 is thrilling. Micah 6:6-8 is a tremendous affirmation of how God wants and needs us to live. The narrative of the birth of Jesus in the second chapter of Luke never fails to be vibrant. But perhaps the story that Jesus told, recorded in Luke 16:19-31, as it shows such great compassion and care along with eternal love and hope, means the most to me. In its sense of justice, it clearly shows how God calls us to live. There is something personal in this story for me.
Do you have a favorite hymn?
This is another impossible task to narrow this down to one hymn. While there are dozens of favorites, these four head up the list: "Be Thou My Vision"; "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior"; "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light"; and "I Surrender All."
Do you have a favorite JRUMC memory?
My favorite memory is really one that is also ongoing. One of the "perks" of being a pastor are the many, many terrific people that you get to meet and know. Most folks don't have this opportunity. The people at Jodeco Road UMC readily welcomed Karen and me in 2017 and have extended that same welcome this year, reaching out to us to come again. We feel that we are a definite part of this family of faith, something that we will always treasure. The privilege of serving God twice now at JRUMC is most humbling and gratifying. Thank you for your embrace and acceptance of us. It's a warm and wonderful blessing.
Is there anything about being a pastor you wish more people knew?
As part-time interim pastor, my primary responsibilities are the ordering and offering of worship(s), the administering of the church, and providing pastoral care to the members and constituents of JRUMC. All of this is done in partnership with the people of the church. We serve God together. We dream and hope and plan and strive together. We love one another together. And together, with God, much will take place that glorifies our Lord and serves to increase the Kingdom of God in the here and now. That's the Christian life. I cannot think of anything better or more special and grand!