ALBION — The congregation of Pullman Memorial Universalist Church will hold a historic dual ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday and the public is invited.
For the first time in the 120-year history of the church, the congregation will confer the status of Minister Emeritus (Minister for Life). The recipient of this special honor is the Rev. Richard “Dick” Hood, who served the church for 35 years, from 1971 to 2006.
Rev. Hood was engaged as a pulpit supply minister but he cared so much about the faith community that he went above and beyond his preaching duties. Rev. Hood is responsible for initiating Talk-back Sundays, Pullman Pennies (a strategy to make tough decisions), the long-range plan, the church covenant (which appears in each hymnal), and the closing circle done on some Sundays. He also presided over the Good Friday service for all of his years at Pullman.
Lee Richards has already been serving the church as their minister for about six months. On Sunday he will be formally installed as the first called minister in 40 years.
Pastor Richards has been working to re-engage the congregation in the larger Albion community. He helped update the church website (pullmanmemorial.org), created a Facebook page, attended numerous church and district meetings, assisted with public relations events, and opened the church for a special 9/11 service conducted by the Albion Area Ministerium.
The ceremony on Sunday will feature Harriette Greaser playing several pieces on the organ, Diana Dudley on piano, and Maarit Vaga and her daughter Lydia Erakare will sing. Immediately following the service will be a reception and cake will be served.
Pullman Memorial Universalist Church is located at 10 East Park St. in Albion. The congregation was founded in 1891, and the church built with funds from railroad car magnate George Pullman in 1895. Pastor Richards lovingly refers to the the church as the place of “Open minds, open hearts, and open arms.”