From First Drafts to Second Thoughts

On All Saints’ Day, 2020, I retired as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida. Polity, protocol and common sense require a former pastor to say well clear of the congregation he or she used to serve. Apart from bumping into folks from my former flock in the grocery store, that’s what I have endeavored to do.

However, I’m not quite out to pasture. I’m still a minister of Word and Sacrament and (so far, at least) a member in good standing of the Presbytery of Florida. I’m not ready to hang up my dog collar and sit out the remainder of my days awaiting entry into the Church Triumphant.

It turns out that I still have something to offer the church and community. In addition to serving on several boards of directors, I am getting the hang of driving the tractor at Dogwood Acres, our presbytery’s outdoor ministry, where Christina, the cook, allows me to chop veggies and wash dishes for retreats and conferences. (I leave the actual cooking to her, of course.) I’ve also been leading worship from time to time at churches that find themselves without benefit of clergy due to vacations, pastoral vacancies, and of course, Covid.

With some trepidation I have decided to re-boot this blog, which used to be titled “First Drafts.” As was the case with the previous blog, nothing I write here is intended to represent the views of any congregation. Those familiar with Presbyterian polity know that no pastor or council of the church — not even a session — can speak for a congregation. Presbyterians speak for themselves, and when they elect fellow Presbyterians to serve on councils, those councils speak for themselves.

Accordingly, I write as a Christian in the Reformed Tradition, a member of the Tallahassee community, and a citizen of the Republic. That should be more than enough to get me into trouble.

Presbyterians have a quaint term for old dogs like me: “Honorably Retired.” This honorably retired parson can’t promise frequent contributions to this blog, but every now and then he will have a bone to pick.

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