Meet Pastor Bob Norris
-- Pastor Bob Norris (Interim Pastor)
Sandy and I are grateful for the warm, gracious reception that you have extended to us early on in our ministry with you. Many of you have gone the extra mile to introduce yourselves and welcome us to First Congregational. We count it a privilege to serve Christ alongside you and look forward to helping you through this transition time between pastors.
Allow us to introduce ourselves to you with a brief glimpse into our past. Sandy and I will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary on May 29. The Lord has blessed us with five children, one son, Matthew, passed away shortly after birth. Our first son, Mark, and his wife, Nicole, live in Middleville, MI and have six wonderful children – four boys and two girls. Our middle daughter, Melodie, and her husband, Adam, reside in Kentwood, MI. Our oldest daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Jarrett, are the parents of two precious daughters and live in southern Indiana, across the river from Louisville, KY. Our youngest daughter, Emily, is single and lives about 15 minutes away from Stephanie in Indiana.
Sandy grew up in a home where her parents both loved Christ and taught her and her two brothers to do the same. Her father, Al Hashley, served with Rural Bible Mission (now RBM Ministries) for over 40 years teaching Released Time Bible classes during the school year and Vacation Bible Schools throughout the summer. Her family lived in a number of locations here in Michigan including a couple of years in Montcalm county during her early elementary school days.
In contrast to Sandy, I did not have the privilege of growing up in a home where Jesus was loved and served. My family attended church occasionally, but it was not a priority until my high school years. During my freshman year of high school, I contracted rheumatic fever and pericarditis and spent three weeks in the hospital recovering. While there, I was visited by a pastor who shared with me that his congregation was praying for my recovery. As a result of that visit, we began attending Gull Lake Bible Church where he pastored, and our family eventually responded to the Good News of the gospel. Both of my parents, along with my brother, sister, and I placed our trust in Christ and became followers of Jesus my senior year in high school in the fall of 1971.
Sandy’s family moved to the Gull Lake area where my family lived and began attending our church shortly before I became a Christian. We dated a few times that year and found little in common due to our difference in upbringing. I graduated from high school in the spring of 1972 and left for Moody Bible Institute in Chicago that fall to prepare for pastoral ministry. Sandy graduated from high school the following year and came to Moody that fall to study Christian education and music. The Lord brought our paths together again at a Christian camp during the summer of 1974 when we began dating again. We committed ourselves to the Lord and each other in marriage eight days after she graduated from Moody in 1976.
I am currently in the process of doing a church assessment which includes listening interviews and will conduct a church wide survey in the coming weeks. Your participation in both processes is encouraged as the Transition Team begins looking for a new pastor. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve Christ and each of you here in Stanton.