At the Session meeting on September 19, Pastor Doug Pratt was presented with a special 40-year anniversary plaque. It included a photo of Doug taken at his alma mater, Gordon-Conwell, a letter of gratitude for his years of service in ministry, and a collection of over 300 signatures. These signatures came from members of the church staff, the Session, the Diaconate, the Men’s Ministry, the Women’s Ministry, and the Chancel Choir—thus representing the entire congregation.

In a recent letter to the congregation, Pastor Doug Pratt quoted Sir Isaac Newton: “If I can see far, perhaps it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants.” His characteristic humility is part of why this family of believers holds their senior pastor in such high regard.

Pastor Doug wears many hats—chief executive officer, visionary, coach, mentor, teacher, fundraiser, servant, and preacher of God’s Word. That is not unusual for the leader of a large church; what IS unusual is Doug’s capacity to wear each hat with excellence and distinction… and the quickness with which he reaches for another hat—the one that says “friend”—a word many of us use to describe him.

Since earning a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MA) and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary (CA), Pastor Doug has flourished where God planted him. He served 11 years as Executive Pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS and led 14 years as Senior Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in suburban Pittsburgh, PA.

This past June, Pastor Doug marked his 40th year of pastoral ministry; our congregation has been blessed with his leadership and vision for 15 of those years (and counting). Doug’s wish is to follow the words of the Apostle Paul, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” (Acts 20:24). He intends for First Church to be his final pastorate before retirement.

As a congregation, we are grateful to God for Pastor Doug’s legacy of ministry and celebrate with him as he continues as our guiding shepherd and friend.