Interim St. Paul Church pastor comfortable with life on the road
When one thinks of professions who might have traits in common with Willie Nelson, the profession of church pastor most likely doesn't come to mind. But like Willie Neslon, Gordon Epps, the interim pastor at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, loves to be on the road.
Although Epps was living in the same Oklahoma town as his children and grandchildren, he and his wife, Elaine, packed up their belongings and moved to Eudora. As interim pastors for the Church of Christ, the scenario was one to which they've become accustomed.
"We've been settled for so long that, for us, it's something that we find interesting," Epps said. "We believe that it's our calling."
It also helps that one of the couple's favorite pastimes is riding motorcycles.
"I'm a Gold Wing rider," Epps said, referring to make of the Honda motorcycle that he rides. "We've just about rode our bikes through 48 states now."
Before Epps retired and got into the interim ministry, he was pastor of a Church of Christ in Drummond, Okla., for 22 years and earned a master of divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pa. His last stop was Kiowa, Kan, which he left July 1.
Although he is only one month into his stay in Eudora he already sees many positive things on the horizon for his new congregation.
"Lisa Gardner was a great pastor and because of that, there are not any conflicting issues," he said. "So, the role of the interim is to test out some of the dreams of the congregation."
One of the dreams that Epps will try to figure out with the congregation will be how the church space could be used once the new recreation center opens in November and the Eudora United Methodist Church finishes the construction of its building.
"There have been a lot of groups that have been meeting here, but that is going to change," he said. "So, we're going to be open to new opportunities that weren't there before."
Epps will hold his position for six months, and then a decision will be made as to if he'll stay or go.
"This is a great church and a great town," he said. "They should have no problem finding a pastor."