The Crape Myrtle Tree
Growing proudly on the left corner in front of Overmiller Hall is a beautiful flowering Crape Myrtle tree. Below it is a small stone with a plaque attached. The plaque engraving, now hard to read, states:
In Appreciation of Three Member
Ministers for Their Pastoral Service
Above and Beyond the Call.
Rev. Tom Nadelin
Dr. Ron Westerman
Rev. Lydia Richards
With Everlasting Gratitude
First Congregational Church of Auburn
United Church of Christ
2001 – 2003
So, what is this all about? In 2001 the church began an unusually long pastoral search for a new minister. Our Church Pastor prior to 2001 was Rev. Curt Anderson, who accepted a pastoral position in Madison, Wisconsin. A Pastoral Search Committee had been formed; however, the search process took much longer than expected.
Rev. Tom Nadelin, a church member at the time who worked as a full-time chaplain for Auburn Faith Hospital Hospice, stepped in as our interim minister. Yet, with ongoing family and professional commitments, Tom was not available to our church every Sunday.
Ron Westerman, church member and former pastor of our church, offered to rotate pulpit duties with Tom. Dr. Westerman was well known and was greatly appreciated in his return to the pulpit.
Shortly, additional back up was needed yet again, and church member, and mother of five, Rev. Lydia Richards joined the group.
They became a tag-team and generated enthusiastic curiosity about just who would be preaching each Sunday. Fortunately, all three were exceptional and greatly respected by the congregational members.
In 2003, Rev. Rick Kuykendall was brought forward as our
new minister. We are not sure who was happier for Rev. Kuykendall’s new position! Rev. Kuykendall or Tom, Ron and Lydia!
Written by Bruce Quick, Church Historian