The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

I think every PCUSA congregation might have one: a resident Book of Order expert. At the church in Nashville where I previously served, his name is Gale.

Gale was a dam engineer. Long retired at age 99, Gale still enjoys (with a sly smile) proudly claiming his professional title. He’s full of energy and passion, especially when it comes to studying, and virtually memorizing, the Book of Order. As you can now imagine, Gale was always quick to speak at congregational meetings, particularly if he thought our process ever needed to proceed more “decently and in order.”

For many who may only have had the chance to see Gale’s insistent adherence to Presbyterian polity, Gale was simply the persnickety older gentleman who sat in the same seat every single Sunday and spoke up at every single congregational meeting.

I know a different Gale.

I know the Gale who loves and cares deeply about his church and his denomination, but who loves and cares for his fellow church members even more. I know the compassionate Gale who would frequently call me, not to critique, complain or even correct my Book of Order interpretation, but simply to check on my family.

Gale is one of the finest “ordinary saints” I know. He’s taught me a lot about Presbyterian history and polity, but I’m much more thankful for all he has taught me about living a long, full life—one full of faithfulness.

Gracious God, for Gale, and for all the “ordinary saints” in our lives, we thank you, and we pray for the same energy, passion, compassion, and faithfulness. Amen.

Rev. Hudson Neely

About the Contributor

Hudson Neely began serving as Pastor at Tyger River Church in November. He was the Associate Pastor at Hillsboro Presbyterian Church in Nashville for eight years. Born and raised in Spartanburg, Hudson and his wife Lindzey have three children and are thrilled to be back in the Upstate.