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Monday, December 10, 2007

The envelope, please

There was sustained applause ... and then singing of "Jesus Loves Me" ... Sunday when the ballots were counted and beloved interim minister Bob Shelton announced that the congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport had accepted the call for a new minister.

Search committee chairman, attorney Frank Dodson, initially revealed his name.

The envelope, please: the Rev. Pen Peery, now associate pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Va.

And the shocker: Pen is 30 years old. For someone old enough to be at least his grandmother, that sounds awfully young to me.

But not to be alarmed. Although one Presbyterian seminary official said as much when he told Dodson that the age might be a stretch for the congregation of First Pres, he did go on to highly recommend that the committee consider him.

Theodore J. Wardlaw, president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminar called Pen "absolutely one of the finest young pastors in the Presbyterian Church in the USA, with a maturity that belies his youth."

"He ... will bring new energy and inspiration to your congregation, to Shreveport, and the greater church which we all seek to serve," promised Wardlaw.

Pen and wife Lindsey have one son, Wells, one-year-old.

The two met as undergraduates at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where Pen graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science!

Among Pen's comments on the church and how it worships Jesus Christ: "It is exceedingly important to remember to whom we belong and to whom the church belongs — not to a particular ideology, or issue, or manifestation of fear — but to Jesus Christ, who claims us through the power of the cross."

Pen’s first official day at First Pres is the first Sunday of Lent — Feb. 10.

Welcome, Pen, to First Pres and to Shreveport.

We look forward to hearing you preach and to seeing you out and about.


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