Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Louisiana Church members react to pastor’s retirement

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:55 am

Members are having a hard time envisioning Church of the Holy Cross, Episcopal, without the Rev. Kenneth Paul.

He has been the rector of the church and an active member of the community since May 1968. Monday night during a church vestry meeting, he announced his decision to retire at Easter.

“It wasn’t a surprise because we knew he was at the retirement age,” Senior Warden Lynn Walford said. “But it was something none of us are happy about because he has been an institution for many years.”

The Episcopal church has a mandatory retirement age for priests of 72. Paul will reach that birthday in March.

He plans to rest and travel and find a routine with his wife, Ginger.

Originally from Alexandria, Paul was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1959 at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport. While studying at Oxford University in England, he learned more about the Episcopal church.

“While there I began to think, if I’m going to continue in the ministry, where do I best fit?” he said. “I best fit and have fit well in the Episcopal church.”

In 1964 he converted and was ordained a priest in 1966.

He admits that his theology has always been on the liberal end. He supported the ordination of women in the 1970s, and over the last several years he has supported openly gay clergy.

While it may have irritated some members of the community, Paul hasn’t been concerned about it.

“I never did have a notion that a clergyperson could be very satisfactory in pleasing people,” he said. “What we are called to is not correct understanding but to faithfulness.”

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