One of the most important activities at the beginning of an Interim period is the conversation. It has been a bare two weeks since the start of my Interim position with you, and I am grateful for the conversational occasions I already have had with individual persons - along with getting acquainted in group settings, both for social gathering and for church business.
The quarterly meeting on June 25 is a grand opportunity for more of this, as well as the discussion-oriented potlucks that were reported at the June 15 Church Council meeting. More of these are now planned.
In case anyone missed the short biographical introduction we published in the June 11 Sunday worship bulletin and other places afterwards, I offer the following to help us get acquainted further - - -
I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Pennsylvania. I started out in a college program that combined Business Administration with Engineering before the Lord intervened in my life and after college sent me off to seminary, which I completed at the University of Chicago.
Over a period of 36 years in my first career as a settled Pastor, I served churches in Brooklyn, New York; Jamestown, New York; Toronto, Ontario; and Chicago, Illinois, with my last regular settlement being for thirteen years in Malden, Massachusetts.
After I flunked retirement in 2001, the Lord called me into my second, new career as an Interim Pastor. Over the past fourteen years, I have served seven churches in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the most recent being in Chester, NH. Hillsborough is my eighth Interim appointment.
I currently serve as Chairperson of the Committee on Ministerial Standing for the NE Association of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ; and sit on the Board of the Mercersburg Society, an ecumenical study group based at Lancaster Theological Seminary, UCC, in Pennsylvania.
My wife, Gloria, and I live in Lowell, Massachusetts. Our two children and five grandchildren all live in Chicago. Gloria is a life-long Roman Catholic, currently on a three-month mission tour in Slovakia, Eastern Europe. She serves there as a volunteer lay evangelist - preaching, teaching and leading retreats in both Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic parishes, prayer groups, and Gypsy Bible schools, which she has done each summer for the past nine years.
I am impressed with Smith Memorial Church. You have many talents and gifts. I look forward to seeing you flourish in our time ahead. The Lord will bless us together in this journey.
- Pastor Duke