The Saratoga Sun -

Part-time pastor-full-time commitment

David Cole fills vacancy at Encampment Presbyterian

 

Joshua Wood

David Cole, who is technically a Commissioned Ruling Elder, is filling in until Encampment First Presbyterian Church finds a full-time pastor.

When David Cole arrived at the First Presbyterian Church of Encampment in January, the parishioners had been without a pastor for over a year. During that time, members of the church had taken turns giving sermons which involved taking time out of their day. Ironically enough, this was similar to how Cole first became involved in the ministry.

"I lived in Cheyenne and I filled in for the pastor. He had gone on vacation and I had filled in for him a couple of times. One of the older congregants told me I had missed my calling," said Cole.

Cole, however, worked for the United Postal Service (UPS) at that time. He had started in Gillette and then was moved to Cheyenne. Cole was then relocated back to Gillette for a management position and eventually retired from the company.

After his retirement, the Presbyterian church in Gillette found itself without a pastor for nearly nine months. During that time, Cole helped the interim pastor out by giving sermons from time to time.

After spending time helping the interim pastor out in Gillette, Cole became involved in the ministry.

"I'm not an ordained pastor. I'm what they call a Commissioned Ruling Elder or CRE. I can do just about everything a pastor does, there are a few things I can't," Cole said.

For his position at the church in Encampment, Cole serves as "stated supply" for the Presbytery of Wyoming. His purpose is to fill a gap in the church until it is able to find a full time pastor. Cole currently has a two-year contract with the First Presbyterian Church of Encampment. If they are unable to find a pastor by the end of the contract, Cole's contract could be renewed for another two years.

If a full-time pastor is found, however, Cole said he would likely move to Encampment or back to Cheyenne. He said chances are also good that the Presbytery of Wyoming could send him to a different church that is in need of an interim pastor.

Cole encouraged people who haven't been to church in some time, as well as those new to the area, to attend a service at First Presbyterian Church of Encampment.

"Come and visit. Get to know the people and everyone's welcome. Of course, you get the thing when you invite somebody, 'Oh, the roof will fall in, the church will fall in." No, we bought hard hats for that case," Cole joked, adding "If you have a tendency of falling asleep we have cots."

 

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