by Rev John H. Piper, 33°
Thirteen years ago in 2002, I officially retired as a full-time United Methodist pastor. I was joined in retirement that year by my fellow Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of PA, Bro. William Hartman, who is also a United Methodist pastor in eastern Pennsylvania.
Around that time, I asked Bro. Hartman what he was going to do in retirement, and he said, "I am going to devote more of myself and my time to the Lodge!" and he has. He continues to be a Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of PA, and he is also the Grand Prelate for the National Encampment of the Knights Templar, as well as Associate Grand Prior for the Supreme Council 33rd degree.
By the way, he still serves part-time as the pastor of a small church in Philadelphia. I cannot boast of that kind of service to the Lodge, but in my retirement I continue to serve as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of PA, and I am often called upon to pray at regular meetings of the Valley of Pittsburgh. Beyond the Lodge, I am pastor of two small churches in the Mon Valley, and this month I began my third term as president of the Wilkinsburg Rotary Club. I am also active in many historical societies as well.
Another retired United Methodist pastor, Grand Lodge Chaplain, and active member and former officer of our Valley, is Bro. Sammy Knappenberger. Sammy only retired a couple of years ago as pastor of an African-American United Methodist church in Washington, PA. In the June 2015 issue of the "Rite News" there was an article on Sammy's receiving the NAACP's Washington Unit's 2015 Human Rights Award. His service to the church, the community and the Lodge has been outstanding.
At a meeting of ministers a couple of years ago, I introduced myself as a "retired minister" to which another minister responded, "Oh, Jack you flunked retirement!" Well I guess I did and still have but I am not alone. Brothers Hartman and Knappenberger have flunked retirement, as well!
At the Vintage Grand Prix races in Pittsburgh this summer, my son and I bumped into a pastor who retired last year. My son asked him, "Are you still active like my Dad?” He replied, "No, but I wish I were!"
Many of you reading this article are retired. All of you will be retired someday. Here's some good advise – stay active in your church or synagogue, your community, and of course stay involved in your Blue Lodge and the Valley of Pittsburgh.
I invite you all to Flunk Retirement!