Community

45 years of serving up holiness

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

The Rev. Bill Gordon, 68, of Trinity United Methodist Church, leaves behind 45 years of ministry on June 26 when he officially retires.

 

Gordon and his wife, Judy, are moving to Snohomish to be closer to family but not before the church throws a celebration service at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 19.

 

“Coming here was absolutely a blessing,” Gordon said.

 

“God saved the best for last. It’s the best congregation we’ve served and best community we’ve lived in.”

Gordon started seminary in 1966 at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo.

 

His hometown pastor in Vista, Calif., had encouraged him to be a pastor and Gordon couldn’t get the thought out of his mind.

 

“There’s this deep calling I have,” he said.

 

His student pastorate work began in two rural eastern Colorado churches; he began his full-time

pastorate in Vancouver, Wash., for three years.

 

From there he went to Sedro-Wooley for five years and was an associate pastor in Bothell for two years. He spent eight years in Toppenish, 10 in Everett, eight in Redmond and two in Anacortes before coming to Sequim for four years.

 

A bishop appoints pastors to their destinations and when a retirement or change occurs, they happen mostly in unison.

 

“There’s hardly a time when a Methodist church doesn’t have a pastor,” Gordon said.

 

Gordon’s last official day as a pastor is June 26, but he’ll be at a conference with other retiring Methodist pastors then. His wife, Judy, leaves behind her choir director duties, too.

 

Gordon said he and his wife will celebrate 33 years of marriage in July. They have five children and 11 grandchildren.

 

The Rev. Bill Green and his wife, Jenny, of Garden Street United Methodist Church in Bellingham, begin their work in Sequim on July 1. Gordon believes his congregation will easily get behind Green as a leader.

“It’s a strong church with great lay leadership,” Gordon said. “Yes, it’s a retirement community, but with a lot of skills and a view to serve the community. The worship is lively.”

 

Gordon said he recently preached the sermon “The Theology of Baseball,” one he’s pined for since becoming a pastor.

 

“I had a lot of fun with it,” he said. “Some people said they don’t even like baseball but liked the sermon … Baseball is a game of second chances. It’s a game of grace.”

Congregational response

Church member Sue Christensen said Gordon is an excellent preacher who puts background to the scriptures and makes them come to life in the present day.

 

“He inspires people to do more and give more,” she said. “He’s very quiet and always listens, but that promotes more input from people in the congregation. He also honors whatever accomplishments and concerns people have. I, obviously, have been very pleased with his work.”

 

Christensen said Gordon originally was scheduled to retire last year but the congregation convinced him, easily, to stay another year.

 

Judy Croonquist, former church Christian education coordinator, said she’s thoroughly enjoyed working with the Gordons.

 

“Judy sets the bar high for us so that we can always do better than we think we can,” Croonquist said.

“Bill had meaningful sermons and as a staff member he was always approachable and open. I could go to either of them and say anything. They are going to be missed.”

 

Church secretary Marian Needham said Gordon has been wonderful, easygoing and a good person.

 

“Spiritually, he’s a very loving and caring person to his congregation and co-workers,” Needham said.

 

Gordon said he’s been impressed with his fellow Sequim church leaders.

 

“All of them have a genuine, sincere, deep calling to ministry and a commitment to bringing good news and the grace of God,” he said.

 

He particularly focused on the friendships with the Rev. Jack Anderson of Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church and the Rev. Bob Rhoads of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

 

“I really appreciated our collegiality and support and depth in faith,” Gordon said. “Lenten services are wonderful experiences. You don’t often get to see churches working together.”

 

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

 

 

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