"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
The time has come for me to put the last items from home and office on the moving truck and head off into retirement. I thought I would share a few thoughts on a rather long body of work. I felt called to pastoral ministry somewhere around the age of 15. I resisted that call, but it is never a good idea to resist God. So, finally I repented, and accepted that call, and started to prepare. I was at Asbury College, a very conservative Wesleyan school from 1970-1974, and graduated with a degree in Religious Education. I went for one year to Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia 74-75. I was Pastor of a student church in New Jersey for that year and was ordained a deacon in 75. The seminary was not a good fit, so I transferred to United Seminary in Dayton, Ohio; pastored another student church just west of Brookville, Ohio; and graduated from United in 77. I was ordained Elder in West Ohio in 78. I met Lana in 79 and we were married in 1980. I served churches at Lafayette and Pasco/Pemberton Charge, but felt the obligation to serve my country as a chaplain. I started that process in 81, and was endorsed in 82 by the UM church. I took the basic course in 83, and went on Active Duty as a Chaplain in 83.
I had tours of duty at Ft. Bragg, NC, Grenada, Flensburg, Germany, Ft. Monmouth NJ for the Advance Course, then on to Ft. Knox Kentucky. Andrew was born in Flensburg and Erin was born at Ft. Knox. I had a short tour to Hondouras, and then on to Korea. From Korea we went to Heidelberg, Germany, then to 1st Infantry Division and on to Bosnia. I had a short tour to Macedonia, and back to the US after 5 years in Germany in 99. After four years at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Mt. Pocano, PA, I retired from the Army in 2003.
I returned to West Ohio to pastor churches, and enable Lana to build up some years so she could one day retire. I was at Mt. Airy UM Church on the west side of Cincinnati from 2003 to 2012. I came to Maineville UM Church in 2012 and have served here for six years.
The UM Church is not the same as it was when I started. When I returned to pastoral ministry in 2003 I was saddened with what had become of the once great witness of Wesleyan faith. I remained faithful to my calling and my ordination vows, but the past 15 years in the denomination have been frustrating. My local parishes have been fine, but I have become increasingly "out of fellowship" with the denominational hierarchy.
Now the time has come when the body is slowing down, age has caught up with energy, and it is time to retire. I have never regretted serving God, serving the church, and serving my country. I have great and fond memories of military service and pastoral service. The great memories far surpass the less than great. My years here at Maineville have fortunately been part of the great memories, and I have loved the lord, loved you, and served with all I had.
In retirement, I will build a grand train layout, restore and paint up some old John Deere Tractors and implements, travel a little, and grow a garden. I have army buddies, train buddies, and John Deere buddies, and a few relatives to visit.
It is my prayer that the UM church gets back on the path, but if it does not, there will be other opportunities for orthodox Wesleyan believers to continue to serve and honor our God. So Keep the faith, stay excited about Jesus Christ, and keep serving faithfully.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting way, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
Rev. Dr. David R. Gerber