George named senior pastor emeritus; sermon book planned.
George Mason was named senior pastor emeritus during worship last Sunday, Aug. 28, his final Sunday before retiring as senior pastor. Deacon chair Debbie Meripolski made the announcement, reading from a certificate declaring that the honor was bestowed “in recognition of exemplary pastoral leadership.”
The service also saw the unveiling of a book project, an anthology of George’s sermons with the working title, In Good Faith: Sermons Shaped by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. A group led by pastoral resident alumna Ann Bell Worley has begun work on the project, reading 33 years of sermons and choosing favorites for the book. Not merely a sermon collection, the book will be a festchrift, which Ann defined as “a scholarly body of work compiled in someone’s honor, a great teacher or academic, for example, presented during their lifetime, often at retirement, with contributions from colleagues, pupils and friends.”
Along with Ann, the team working on the book includes resident alumni Jake Hall and Julie Merritt Lee and Wilshire member Gail Brookshire. Each Wilshire member household will receive a copy of the book, which the group hopes to release through a publisher.
Ann, Jake and Julie’s participation in Sunday’s service was kept secret from George. Julie offered prayers of the people, Jake gave the benediction, and the congregation sang a new hymn with text Ann wrote for the occasion.
George’s last day as senior pastor was Aug. 31. He remains director of Wilshire’s Pathways to Ministry program. Speaking at the end of Sunday’s service, George said, “You know, Frederick Buechner died recently. And he famously talked about how that sweet spot of vocation is when your own sense of calling meets the world’s great hunger. And that’s happened for me here with you. I don’t know that it could have happened anywhere else, or with anyone else.”