TOWN OF LEE — Retiring after 25 years as Delta United Methodist Church’s (DUMC) music director and organist, for Molly Pritchard the church’s weekly April 28 service marked her final performance of hymns as well as a tribute to her.
Pritchard’s many efforts for the church, not only musically but in other activities such as dinner and cookie sale fundraisers, were saluted by several of the DUMC pastors with whom she has worked plus congregation members.
Pastors who were present, and their years at DUMC, included Rev. Robert Wollaber, 1993-1996; Rev. Arthur Miner, 1996-2005; Rev. Susan Walters, 2011-2017; Rev. Patricia Hubman, the current pastor since 2017. Among some of their remarks:
• Miner said Pritchard is a “humble servant of the Lord” and “an eternal optimist” whose music has been “always exciting and enthusiastic.” He also referred to her patience and kindness in working with the church choir. He added “God bless you, Molly....Thank you for your support.”
• Walters, noting Pritchard “came from a clergy family,” recalled her assistance and advice including how she “always made sure I was informed” such as when congregation members had been in an accident or were hospitalized and needed prayers. If Walters was having “a difficult week,” she said, Pritchard would ask “are you alright?....Do you need anything?”
“Molly has given of herself” and is a compassionate servant of God, said Walters. She told Pritchard “I’m so happy I had you,” hugging her.
Hubman led a “prayer and blessing for Molly,” after DUMC Staff/Parish Relations Committee Chairperson Kathy Aust presented Pritchard with a gift and a commemorative plaque.
In addition, the DUMC Strings and Things group performed the song “There’s a Light.”
Group member Marie Veschusio said Pritchard “over the last 25 years has been such a light to so many people...with visitors...kids...so much more than just music.”
Prior to the service, parishioners praised Pritchard’s work over the years including seeking congregation members’ hymn suggestions and most meaningful songs; seeking prayers for those in need; playing the piano in addition to the organ, including for choir performances; coordinating the annual cookie sale as well as organizing church dinner events.
Pritchard spoke to the congregation, to “thank everybody for 25 wonderful years.” The congregation “sticks together,” and that is “what makes a church,” she observed.
Pritchard pointed out she now “will be in the congregation” at DUMC, and it will seem “a little odd” being in the pews after she “never had to worry” before about where she was sitting in church.
Thanking the pastors and the congregation for the event, she said “hopefully I’ll see you next week” at church.
To succeed Pritchard, DUMC is seeking a keyboard specialist/organist for a part-time paid position, said Hubman. The person should be familiar with both traditional and contemporary hymns and songs, she added.
People interested in the position can call DUMC at 315-336-1940 to speak to the secretary or leave a message. They also can contact the church through its Facebook page.