“The master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant…’”
When I first arrived at FPCSA, I often said, “The church gave me several gifts.” I was speaking, of course, of the staff that was in place at that time; in particular, I was referring to Marcia Griffin, Marion Heatherington, Mary Lee, Paul McNeff, and Dick Williams. Each of these individuals brought particular gifts and talents to their work, but mostly they brought hearts filled with love, joy and a desire to serve God by serving His people. They blessed me. And I’m sure they blessed many of you.
Dick Williams was the staff person on campus that assisted the Pastor Nominating Committee when I interviewed for the position as senior pastor at FPCSA a hundred years ago. He got a kick out of the fact that I wanted to see every single room of the campus. I was fascinated by it!
After I received the call to serve FPCSA, Dick was the one who gave me my keys, had me fill out all my paperwork, and showed me the ropes. Our relationship grew over the years. I saw him approach his work with passion and thoughtfulness, integrity and a desire to please the Lord.
Although not a member of our congregation, Dick always contributed to the conversation at staff meetings. He truly cared about the members and ministry of FPCSA. He had the heart of a servant minister. I often joked, “Dick is an ordained pastor trapped in a business manager’s body.” And he always sought the best for our church.
As business manager, Dick oversaw the finances. Having been at churches in the past where the business manager fiercely sought to control the finances, I saw in Dick a steward of the Lord and of this congregation. Dick recognized it was not his money; it was the Lord’s.
When someone would approach him with a ministry idea, Dick would never respond with “We don’t have the money for that,” or “That’s not in the budget.” Rather, he would approach it with the attitude of, “Let’s figure out where we can find the money for that.” Now… not every idea that was brought to Dick passed session approval, but Dick always sought to find the funds to support ideas that were passed and helped guide elders to see possibilities rather than roadblocks.
One of the best things about being a pastor is the conversations we have with people. And I love the conversations I’ve had with Dick. We met weekly. We talked about the life of our congregation, the various ministries and members of the church; and we talked about society, politics, sports, life, family. Over time, Dick became one of my best friends.
After faithfully serving First Presbyterian Church Santa Ana for over 25 years, Dick Williams is stepping down from his position as business manager at the end of September 2021. To say, “He will be missed,” is a huge understatement. He is deeply loved and trusted by our church family.
But we trust God to guide us in the days ahead, as well. Earlier this summer, we began moving our finances to a non-profit financial organization called Jitasa. Jitasa means “The Spirit of Serving Others.” According to their website, Jitasa exists “to serve the nonprofits who make the world a better place.” They only work with nonprofit organizations and their mission is “to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these organizations.” We’re excited to not only modernize, but to put in place some safeguards and backups, so that we will not be parallelized should anything happen to any individual on our staff.
Please pray for us during this transition. As Dick steps down, Genesis Fletcher will be stepping up to take a greater role. The Personnel Committee is in the process of developing a job description and title for this new role. As a way to honor and thank Dick for his many years of service, the Personnel Committee voted to continue his salary through the end of the year.
The session also voted to open the way for church members to contribute to a Love Gift for Dick. If you would like to contribute to that gift, please feel free to send a check to the church office (attn: Genesis Fletcher) made out to First Presbyterian Church with “Dick Williams” written in the memo line. At our celebration for Dick, we’ll present him with a check for the full amount and we’ll give him a list of contributors.
At the time of writing, Dick is on vacation with family in Kauai, Hawaii. So we haven’t coordinated a Sunday after worship where we can have him here with us to celebrate and honor him. That information will be in the September issue of The Messenger.
Until then, keep Dick & Kathie in your prayers.
In Christ’s name and service, I remain yours,