DALEVILLE, Ind. — The books are all packed up. The desk has been sold. The office is almost empty.
After ministering to the congregation at Daleville’s Trinity Community Church for the last 12 years, the Rev. Paul Pletcher is moving on.
“This has been an interesting, loving place to work,” said Pastor Pletcher, 66. “I love what I do. I’ve enjoyed being the pastor here at Trinity.” Still, Pletcher said it’s time to make a change.
The preacher will retire from regular day-to-day ministry and seek to serve as an interim pastor that ministers to congregations for shorter terms while they are in between full-time leadership. Pletcher plans to attend training in Chicago this fall through Interim Pastoring Ministries to prepare for the work.
“It’s a way of extending my ministry,” said Pletcher. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to minister to a variety of churches and to help them transition.”
At the same time, it allows him a little more flexibility in his life after 41 years of pastoring. “A pastor’s job is a demanding job – it takes a lot of hours,” he said.
Pletcher’s wife of 43 years, Donna, served as church secretary at Trinity. The couple both grew up in northern Indiana, but Pletcher’s decades of pastoring started out in Michigan. After attending Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, he first pastored in Jackson, Mich. He then served in Goshen, Ind.; Aurora, Ill. and Traverse City, Mich., before coming to Daleville.
“God’s kept us pretty much in a big circle,” said Pletcher. He anticipates serving in his interim capacity around the Midwest as well. “We’ll see where the Lord leads us.”
The couple will continue to make their home base at their Anderson residence.
“We’ll still be in our home and still have our neighbors, that helps,” said Donna. With a little less demand on their time, the Pletchers are likely to get in a little more time with their two out-of-state daughters and grandchildren. Donna also enjoys quilting, and her husband enjoys working in the yard.
The church is planning a dinner in honor of Pletcher after Sunday morning’s worship service.
“He’s a very kind, compassionate pastor,” said church elder Mike Kiefer. “We’re hoping for a nice crowd there.”
Kiefer is part of a three-member team of elders that will consider where to go from here. Trinity Community Church is an independent, fundamental non-denominational Bible church with a congregation of about 50 people. The church was founded in 1967 as an Evangelical United Brethren church. Kiefer has been a member from the get-go.
“We’ll have some prayer about it and wait on the Lord,” said Kiefer about seeking new leadership. He observed that growth has been difficult for the church in recent years, after the area was hit so hard economically. “Really, I think the area has changed more than the church.”
“It’s certainly going to be a transition for the church,” said Rev. Pletcher, but noted it would be in capable hands. He leaves with fond thoughts of the congregation.
“These people are open and friendly – very welcoming – that’s made it easy. They’ve been kind,” said Pletcher. “You make friends with these people. You’re going to miss that weekly contact and fellowship with the people.”
Donna added, “When you leave a church, you leave your church family.”
The church has Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays, followed by worship service at 10:30 a.m. This Sunday’s worship service will be followed by the Pletchers’ farewell dinner in the fellowship hall. The church is located at 13801 E. Main St. in Daleville.
Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @ NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.