Our Father’s House 2001
Ten years ago, on the first Sunday in July, I preached my last sermon for the fine folks at Our Father’s House (non-denominational) in West Unity, Ohio. Little did I know that I would leave this church only to embark on journey that took me to three states and over a hundred churches. When I began this journey I was a Christian and along the way I lost my calling and my God.
When we closed the doors of Our Father’s House I was worn out. Physically and mentally I was worn to a frazzle. Perhaps I was what they call burnt-out.
Eight months later, I decided to pastor a church again. This decision was hasty and, in retrospect, I never should have taken this church. For seven months I pastored Victory Baptist Church (Southern Baptist) in Clare, Michigan. It was evident from the start that I was in the wrong place. I tried. I worked day and night. I did what I always did…work, work, work. It didn’t matter. The church was dysfunctional when I got there and it was dysfunctional when I left. I made up my mind that if I ever pastored again I would never pastor a small, pastor devouring church. (which BTW, is most Baptist churches)
In September of 2003 I preached my last sermon. Almost nine years have gone by since I stood before a group of people and preached to them the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.(and I miss it)
The Band circa 2001. Jason, Nathan, Jaime Gerencser
and Rodney Keefer.
My sister lived in Yuma and she bought a house for us to live in. We lived in a beautiful home, complete with a pool and outdoor hot tub. We traveled all over southern Arizona and even got lost near the Mexican border. (a story for another day)We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Yuma, especially the time spent with my sister, but we missed our three grown children we had left behind in Ohio so we decided to head back home.
After living in Yuma for seven months we moved back to Newark, Ohio. Polly’s parents lived in Newark (and we had lived there for awhile in the late 1970’s) and we thought it would be good to spend some time with them.
Decent paying work was hard to find in Newark and after months of trying to locate good jobs we decided to move back to NW Ohio. Six weeks before we moved, Polly’s younger sister was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. (read my post If One Person Gets Saved It is Worth It)
In July of 2005, we moved to Bryan, Ohio, the city of my birth. We lived in Bryan for 7 months and then moved to Alvordton, Ohio to live in a mobile home we bought back from our son. (we had sold it to him when we moved away in 2003)
In May of 2007, we bought the home we currently live in. The wandering in the wilderness finally stopped.
From the time I pastored my last church until November of 2008 our family visited over 100 churches. We were looking for answers, looking for that one church that took seriously the teachings of Jesus, that one church that put actions before words. Sadly, we came to the conclusion that whatever Christianity might have been 2,000 years ago, it long since died in the swamp of religious bureaucracy and dogma. (read my post The Disaffected Years 2004-2008)
I began my walk in the wilderness as a tired, Jesus loving, people loving pastor. I exited the wilderness an atheist.
Rev. and Mrs. Bruce Gerencser, Our Father’s House
To the casual observer, the past ten years looks like an unhitched trailer rolling down a steep hill. Some might even suggest that my atheist crash was inevitable. Perhaps.
All I know is that I was, and I remain, a seeker. I haven’t arrived. Where I am today is not where I will be a month or a year from now. Those who try to judge me at a particular place and time in life have difficulty because I am not now at the point in time and place they are trying to judge.
Ever moving, that is how I best describe my life. While health problems and a desire to be close to my children and grandchildren have grounded me in Ney, Ohio, the wanderlust still lurks deep in my being.
My youngest daughter tells a funny story about us moving all the time. It seems when we would get close to the time to move I would buy Pop Tarts. The reason for this is obvious. Pop Tarts are great travel food…and they are t-a-s-t-y. Every time we buy Pop Tarts Laura asks if we are moving. No more moving. We are at our final destination, location-wise. It is here we plan to live until we die.