Safford leaving Port Aransas
After 23 years in the pulpit at Community Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Richard Safford announced today that he is leaving Port Aransas. He is answering a call from a church in Angel Fire, N.M. His last Sunday will be Oct. 10. “It’s God’s will,” Safford said, when asked why he is leaving. He said, “It started as a joke” when a friend asked if he’d like to change to a church on the top of a mountain as opposed to a church at sea level. He laughed, and over several months of discussions, with him laughing and throwing up roadblocks every step of the way, and with the Angel Fire folks having an answer for each one, “I finally had to stop laughing and start listening,” Safford said. Safford’s tenure is the longest of any pastor for the Port Aransas church, and the longest he’s lived anywhere or served any church. The second longest period of time he’s served a church was five years. He’s been in Port Aransas “40 percent of my life,” so leaving Port Aransas “is hard – it’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life. This call has been such a great match for so long; we raised our kids and other people’s kids here,” Safford said.
The only thing he hasn’t done that he would have liked to do was to marry someone he’d baptized. “I thought that would be really cool,” he said. The Presbyterian church dictates that when pastors move on they leave their former pulpits to the new pastors, so he won’t be coming back to fulfill that wish. The church employs trained, professional interim pastors who go through a process with the congregation to help determine their needs for the present and the future, so the congregation can call a pastor who can fulfill the needs of the future. The interim pastor helps in the transition to insure the success of the new pastor, Safford explained. Safford said he is still grieving over leaving Port Aransas and that he is looking forward to a new ministry and new adventure in New Mexico