During the first year of my ministry in NC, I met my wonderful wife Kelly and we were married in 2001. We soon had two children. Sophia was born in 2002 and Dominic was born in 2005. At various times, we have also added dogs, guinea pigs, birds, turtles, hedgehogs and fish to our family.
From 2006 to 2014, our family lived in SC where Kelly taught elementary and middle school while I was again enrolled at the University of South Carolina, but this time as a full-time graduate student seeking a PhD in Philosophy. During this time, I taught Philosophy classes as an adjunct professor while continuing my ministry as the Parish Associate at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia.
From 2014 to 2020, I served as the pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in North Canton, Ohio. During these years, I completed my PhD and continued to work as an adjunct professor, teaching occasional Philosophy classes at Malone University. It was during this period in my life that I was also diagnosed with kidney cancer. Through the grace and providence of God, I was able to catch the tumor in my kidney long before it threatened my life and I had it removed with a simple surgery.
In October of 2020, I experienced the greatest honor of my career in being elected to be the pastor of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. I began working remotely as LPPC’s pastor in November of 2020 and I moved to New Mexico in January of 2021.
As I reflect on my life, I remember having a sense that God was calling me to the ministry long before I understood what this call was all about. But as time went on, what I came to care about more than anything else was sharing the good news that God is a God of endless compassion, hope and inclusion. I think it is tragic that sometimes people hear a message from the church that distorts this picture of God and I want my life to be about allowing the undistorted good news of the gospel to be heard.
Pastor Rich was interviewed by Matthew Bronson on KUPR, Placitas public radio. Listen to the interview.