Photo by Krisanna Thomas

Pastor Philips to Retire

United Methodist Church Pastor Mark Phillips will be retiring soon. The Coyote reached out to him for a short Q&A about his history as a pastor, his time in Murdo, and his future plans.
How long have you been a pastor? How long have you been a pastor in Murdo?
I began serving my first church in 1982 when I was a student attending seminary in Ohio. I have been serving the Murdo and Draper congregations for five years.
  Where else have you served as a pastor?
Rum Creek UMC in Ohio for three years; First UMC in Aberdeen for five years; Wakonda, Irene and Viborg UMCs for four years; Mandan, ND UMC for nine years; Central UMC in Milbank for eight years; Trinity UMC in Lead for five years; and Murdo/Draper now for five years.
     Where will you be moving to?
Ginger and I will be moving to Sioux Falls.
  What do/did you enjoy most about being a minister?
In the words of my father, who was also a pastor, “Being a pastor is the only occupation where you have the privilege of being with people during their most joyous moments and their most difficult times.” That leads me to say I have most enjoyed building relationships and friendships with people while sharing those most important moments of their lives.
  How do you feel about retiring?  What do you plan on doing in your retirement?
Mixed emotions, though mostly it is a feeling of anticipation. I am looking forward to being able to do whatever I choose. There is a long list of possibilities which will definitely include some time on the golf course. 
  What are your fondest memories of living in Murdo?
Youth activities both at church and school. Also, the many different times when I have had the chance to both laugh and cry with people.
 Do you have any parting words of wisdom for your parishioners?
WOW! How long can I share? First, study the Scripture. ALL of Scripture. Don’t miss the forest because you get stuck clinging to one tree. Second, find your foundational Scriptures.  Mine are John 3: 16-17 stating that God sent Christ to save us not condemn us; Romans 8: 37-39 that tells us nothing in this entire universe can separate us from God’s Love given in Christ; and Galatians 5: 22-23 listing the Fruit of the Spirit that God wants us to develop. Third, attend worship.  Worship is what feeds your spiritual life. Missing too many meals leads to hunger, starvation and eventually death. You won’t remember every meal and not every one will be amazing but it does feed your soul. Finally, never forget your need for God’s Forgiveness and Grace. Even if that is the only thing we have in life it is still better than we deserve.

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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