Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Meet the new pastor

First Presbyterian has called a new pastor after nearly 18 months of searching. I wrote a little about the Rev. Pen Peery in today's paper, but I couldn't include all of what the church told me.

Frank Dodson, chair of the pastor's nominating committee sent me his statement about Peery, now an associate pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Va., to the church and here are a few excerpts:

"If you had told me 11 months ago that I would be standing at this pulpit to recommend a 30 year old to be our next pastor, I’d have said you’d lost your mind.

There are some objective things about Pen’s background that assured us Pen could assume the senior pastor position in this church. Second Presbyterian Church is very similar to our church. It’s an urban church, founded in 1845, the same year our church was founded. The congregation is roughly the same size as ours, and its membership is demographically similar. They face many of the same problems we do, including an aging facility.

We discovered that Pen is warm and charming and appeals to people of all ages. The oldest and youngest members of the PNC, were his biggest fans. He has a “presence” in a group setting and is engaging in one on one conversation. Each of us came away from our visits with Pen convinced that he has a love for people.

Pen is a good preacher with a confident, comfortable pulpit presence. Pen believes that worship is the central act of the church and he is "unapologetically traditional" in his worship style. His sermons are solidly grounded in Scripture and our Reformed theological heritage. They are thought-provoking and challenging and encourage the listener to wrestle with Scripture and its meaning for his or her life.

I believe his youth and energy, his new ideas, and who he is as a person will be immensely attractive to everyone, but especially young adults and young families who will see someone in leadership at this church with whom they can readily identify. He will be a strong presence in Shreveport, representing First Presbyterian Church with love and enthusiasm."

Sounds like exciting days ahead. Good luck to First Pres and welcome Rev. Peery.

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