Sunday marks my seventeenth anniversary at Charles Town Presbyterian Church. I’ve been reflecting on my ministry here in the past decade and a half, and I thought I’d spend some time sharing some of those reflections.
I remember the first week very clearly. We pulled in from Texas late in the day on a Wednesday, ahead of our possessions. Then we found out the moving van was delayed a day. Then another day. By Friday it was clear that our furniture, clothes, etc., would not arrive until the following week. My first Sunday at CTPC was two days away. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of storing my sermon in a suitcase on the moving van. I had to borrow pants, buy a shirt at Walmart, just so I could present myself as well-dressed that first Sunday. I also had to recraft my sermon from memory, which was extremely stressful with everything else that was happening. We got through that first weekend without a hitch, our things arrived the following Monday afternoon, and we got settled well by the end of that week.
Over the last seventeen years, we have seen some interesting ministry moments. We’ve welcomed approximately 80-90 new members in that time. We’ve also lost about 40-50 members, mostly from those who have passed away.
We’ve had significant staff changes since 2004. Eight years ago, our beloved music director of fifty-four years, Ceil Frazier, announced her retirement. She was succeeded by Jason Largent, and then by Penny Liston. Connie Adams was serving as church business administrator when I arrived. Five or six years ago, Connie retired, and we decided we could do that work among the session committees and trustees. We called an associate pastor, whose ministry focused on Christian Education. She was later succeeded by Molly Rogers Blue, who served on staff over five years before moving on just prior to the pandemic.
When I arrived at CTPC, the church was amid a small capital campaign to raise money for repairs to the brick pointing on the fellowship hall and the manse chimneys. Since that time, we’ve had two additional capital campaigns, both of which I would characterize as a success. The first one, we fell short of the goal by about ten percent, which those who are fundraising experts will say is a win for any organization. The second one, which was to do extensive repair on the steeple, hit the goal handily.
There are many, many more individual moments that stand out in my mind, far too involved to share here. It has been my honor to serve as pastor of Charles Town Presbyterian Church for so long, and I look forward to where we are heading.