A Message from Pastor Philip Makari

Philip15Dear Starkdale Family of Faith,

Glowing with the light of the Word, genuine in your faith in the Lord, gracious in your dealings with others, and generous in your giving of yourselves and of God’s blessings to you, these are only a few of the obvious characteristics that I have seen in you and experienced about you since I became the pastor of Starkdale on May 1, 2005.

On Sunday, August 9, 2015, the day you extravagantly provided for my retirement celebration at St. Florian hall, was a day on which all those amazing characteristics of you reached their highest point. I still keep reminiscing over what took place during the course of that evening. Surrounded by my spiritual brothers and sisters, members of our biological families (Vickey’s and mine), out-of-town friends, community people, Presbytery representatives, and the Valley’s Ministerial Network, made the evening pleasantly very special. I can assuredly say that since I was born I had never been in such company, or in such spotlight. The GIFTS, the WORDS, the CARDS, the HUGS, the SMILES, and of course, the TEARS, will continue to be to Vickey and me a river of flowing memories of pure love.

Starkdale, I cannot thank you enough for who you are, for what you have done in the way of service in the Kingdom of God, for impacting our lives (Vickey’s and mine) beyond the expressions of words, for adopting us into your families, and for inspiring us to continue on seeking opportunities to serve in accordance to God’s will and for his glory.

Some of you have asked what was next for Vickey and me. The answer is that we don’t know yet. I am in conversations with members of the Presbytery’s Ministerial Committee, hospice, the hospitals, and local churches. As with everything else, this matter requires patience, discernment and prayers. The Lord will show us in due time what is suitable for us.

Will we be able to visit with you from time to time? Of course; we intend to be part of most if not all of your main events, yet at worship occasionally.

If it is the Lord’s will that I have a local ministry (Bible study, a part time work in a church, or something else), could you participate? Certainly, but you may not if the intention is to leave Starkdale.

Is it possible that I be invited to conduct weddings, funerals, and worship at Starkdale again? I would be honored, provided that the invitation comes from the session.

Do we (Vickey and I) intend to make Steubenville our home? That is the plan unless job opportunities and unforeseen circumstances lead us somewhere else. We love Steubenville because Steubenville first loved us. Besides, why leave a safe, convenient, spiritual and humble community to go somewhere else. For now, I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead the Starkdale Tuesday morning Bible studies and moderate the Starkdale session. My Tuesday commitment will come to an end when our study of the Book of Revelation is completed. Moderating the session will stop when the Presbytery appoints a new moderator or when a new pastor has been called.

My last word: Please keep fanning the flame of faith, and may God grant you the love with which you have blessed Vickey and me through the last ten years.

Philip Makari