On June 9, the Session of University Presbyterian Church took official action to confer the status of Pastor Emeritus to the Rev. Dr. Bob Dunham who served this congregation faithfully for 27 years. This act of Session represented the culmination of something we have been discussing and discerning with Bob and Marla for the better part of a year.
Meg and Jarrett have a steady friendship with Bob and felt that the timing was right to invite him back into the full life and ministry here at UPC. We trust that you will join us in welcoming both him and Marla warmly in the weeks to come. You may be wondering, however, what does it mean to be a Pastor Emeritus?
First and foremost, the title Emeritus communicates that this person is held in honor by the community. That much has always been true. Functionally it signals that, while Bob has been a model of maintaining his boundaries as prescribed by the Presbytery in times of pastoral transition, the time for strictly keeping those boundaries has passed. Bob is now welcome to attend worship without asking permission. He is free to enjoy any aspect of the Church’s life together, like attending the congregational retreat later this month.
It does not mean that he has re-joined the staff or is taking on pastoral responsibilities once more. Bob is quite content to be retired. That said, you may catch him donning his Geneva robe every now and again and engaging in worship at the invitation of the Session or staff.
On Sunday, September 18, UPC will celebrate this occasion with a single service at 11:00 am (fear not, 8:30 service will return on Sept. 25) in which we will celebrate the faithfulness of our history and the faithfulness of our future ahead. We have commissioned a hymn for the occasion composed by Mark Miller with lyrics written by the Rev. Jenny McDevitt, a friend and colleague to Bob and many others on staff here at UPC.
Come kick off the program year with us in Word and worship, in song and in praise.