About six months ago, our eclectic worship band gained a banjo. Some worship attendees may know that the man behind banjo’s pick, pluck, strum, and strike is Rev. Dr. David Ruhe, our special pulpit guest this Sunday, June 21, 2015.
I recently asked David to tell me his story. He started with the 1960 World Series, and my respect immediately increased. Childhood and early adolescence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania made David into a Pirates fan, and the 1960 Series was one of the all time great David vs. Goliath match-ups between the under-dog Pirates and those damn Yankees. Marris, Mantle, Berra, and Ford stocked up huge leads throughout the regular season; sailing into the Series they kept the momentum by winning Game 2, 16 to 3. The Pirates, on the other hand, eked past opponents with small ball tactics, and somehow forced the Yankee’s into Game 7. Spiritual formation can transpire in any narrative, and for the young David Ruhe faith, hope, and love became tangible as the Pirates scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th. In similar drama to bestselling coming of age stories, later that same year David moved with his family from Pittsburgh to Chicago where he attended New Trier High School, and no, he did not change his allegiance to the Cubs.
Desiring to attend a small liberal arts college with a reputation of rigorous academics and social consciousness, David enrolled, and in 1971, graduated from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Four years later, he was awarded a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, and in 1987 he earned his Doctorate of Ministry from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Last year, Eden Theological Seminary honored David with a Doctorate of Divinity, recognizing his years of faithful service to the local, national, and universal Church.
Rev. Dr. David Ruhe served two churches in Connecticut, first as Director of Christian Education and second as Associate Minister for Christian Education. Moving to Omaha, Nebraska he served as associate minister and then as senior minister at First Central Congregational Church, and in 1994 he was called to Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa, where he served as Senior Minister until he retired from vocational ministry in 2014.
David and Priscilla recently celebrated 38 years of marriage, and they have two adult sons, Jonathan and Paul. David has a third son, Eric from a previous marriage.
From 1991 to 1993, David served as the Moderator of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant Christian denomination and an ecumenical partner with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Those who were able to attend the 1993 joint-General Assembly and Synod in Saint Louis might remember David in this leadership capacity.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know David as a colleague and as a friend. I find that he exemplifies the ministerial presence I’m working to develop. He is thoughtful, studied, wise, joyful, and most admirably faithful. I hope you will join me in wholehearted welcome this Sunday as David continues our series: “Summer in Colossae.”