ANDERSON — He’s taking his canoes with him. That, and a whole lot of books. He’s got everything packed upon his truck, and he’s headed for fresh waters.
Along with him, the Rev. Father Robert Williams will carry the love and well-wishes of the community he’s shepherded for 29 years.
Better known simply as Father Bob, the beloved pastor of St. Mary’s and St. Ambrose Catholic churches in Anderson heads tomorrow for Delphi, Ind., the new parish to which he has been assigned.
While it’s a tough departure for his congregations to handle, the man leaves a legacy of empowerment with them.
“It’s a big change for us. He’s just been an absolutely wonderful pastor for us,” said Pat Marstall of St. Mary’s. “He really is a model for a servant….He taught us that well – how to serve the poor and reach out to those that are marginalized.”
During his almost three decades in Anderson, Father Bob was a key player in many outreach ministries that have impacted the community including the sick, the aged, the imprisoned, and the hungry.
Second Harvest Food Bank is just one example of Father Bob’s local impact. Lois Rockhill, now-retired executive director of the organization, said that Father Bob’s participation really helped to grow Second Harvest.
“Father Bob was an integral part of it. At the start, it was difficult to find our place… It was very good to have him on our board during that time," said Rockhill.
At the same time, Father Bob was diligently ministering in the prison, serving meals through The Christian Center, making hospital visits, teaching classes on immigration, serving at the Community Justice Center, and more.
“His spirituality has increased the whole spirituality of the church,” said Mary Ann Nivens, who serves as director of the Rites of Initiation of Adults at St. Mary’s. “His love of people, especially the poor — he’s always been a savior of the people.”