Richmond Beach Congregational Church to install new pastor at Sunday afternoon service

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Richmond Beach Congregational Church will install the Rev. Paul Ashby as its pastor, Sunday, March 2 at 2pm.

Ashby has been at the Richmond Beach church since early July, but the installation has been delayed because the Northwest Conference minister of the United Churches of Christ has not been available.

Ashby came to Richmond Beach Congregational from a church in Tulsa, Okla. Earlier in his 27 years of ministry in the United Church of Christ, he served churches in California, Connecticut and Ohio.

He holds graduate degrees from the College of William and Mary, from Wake Forest University from Princeton seminary and from Colgate Rochester divinity school. He did post-doctoral studies at Harvard University in world religions.

Ashby says that his calling is to give people a reason to get out of bed on Sunday morning and to offer sermons and adult education classes that make a difference in people’s busy lives.

He said recently that he came to the Richmond Beach church because he found a friendly, welcoming community.

Ashby added that he likes churches with fewer than 800 members because he is able to offer personal pastoral care.

He said that in Oklahoma he had tried to make his church open to people who didn’t feel welcome at many other churches.

He has represented the UCC at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago and the Conference on Buddhism in America.

Ashby was elected to four terms as president of the Oklahoma United Churches of Christ. He won a Friends of Tibet award for work with Tibetan Buddhist refugee families and the 2011 Spiritual Inclusion award from the Oklahomans for Equality Center for representing leadership and service for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights.

Guest speaker at the installation Sunday will be Swami Bhaskarananda, director of the Vedanta center of Western Washington and author of six books, including the newly published “How to Get Along With Others.”

Bhaskarananda’s text, “Hinduism,” is used throughout the world as an introductory text in college classes.


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