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First Things March 2013

March 1, 2013

On March 24, at 4 PM, this church will install me as your Settled Minister.  We will have a Service of Installation in Fritchman Auditorium with visiting ministers, a combined choir, UUs visiting from all over southern California, and a reception in Channing Hall. I hope you will be there.

An Installation is a very important event in the life of a congregation.  It means that you and I have agreed that we will work together as stewards of this church in a committed relationship with each other and our faith called a “covenant.”  Until last June, I was here as a consultant, hired by the Board of Trustees under a contract.  Now I’m “called” by the congregation, and with the expectation that I will stay here for a long time.

How long?  In the last 20 years First Church has not had a minister who stayed longer than 4 years.  I’ve already been your minister for 4 years.  But historically First Church has had many very long ministries.  Phil Zwerling was here for 11 years.  Burdette Backus and Stanton Hodgin were here for 12 years each.  Ernest Caldecott served for 14 years.  And Stephen Fritchman served for 21 years.

First Church is a prestigious pulpit in a prestigious city.  It’s an honor to serve here.  No one knows the future, but I see myself staying a long time.

In 2027 First Church will celebrate our 150th anniversary – that would be nice to see.  If I stay until 2030 I’ll have been here as long as Stephen Fritchman, and I’ll be 68, a good age for a minister to retire.

See you then.

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