MARILLA, N.Y.—When he was a senior in high school, Richard Seefried struggled between entering the ministry or accepting one of the many full-ride football scholarships he received to Ivy League schools. He ultimately chose ministry, and now, upon his retirement, he can look back and rejoice over his chosen path.
First Baptist Church said good-bye to its beloved pastor on Aug. 31. Richard has retired after 45 years in ministry; he spent 18 of those years at First Baptist. The congregation celebrated the nearly two decades they spent with Richard and his wife, Nancy, in an appreciation service. The guest speaker was Jeff Stimpson, Seefried’s son-in-law and former associate pastor, serving at First Baptist for eight years. Pointing to Paul’s letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4, Stimpson shared five characteristics of an effective pastor—characteristics that he “wholeheartedly” believes Seefried possesses. An effective pastor, Stimpson says, preaches sound doctrine and truth, evangelizes, ministers to all people, sacrifices, and exemplifies.
“He was not just a pastor; he was an effective pastor,” Stimpson says.
- Watch a video from the service.
Richard and Nancy have spent nearly their entire married life in ministry. They married in 1969, and in 1970 he was called to his first church, Calvary Baptist Church, Cresaptown, Md., as youth pastor. He went on to become pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Glen Burnie, Md., for six years. Then his former church in Cresaptown called him back its ministry, and he served as pastor there for 15 years. Following his ministry in Cresaptown, he was pastor of Abbe Road Baptist Church, Elyria, Ohio, for two years and then came on staff at First Baptist Church of Marilla in 1996. He received a GARBC Service Award for his faithful ministry at the 2005 GARBC Annual Conference.
In the appreciation service, the Seefrieds received a memory book filled with greetings and reminiscences from a host of friends, family members, and current and former staff members.
Michael Briggs, pastor of worship and music, says, “Though Richard and Nancy will be sorely missed, we wish them well in the next ministry endeavor that God undoubtedly will bring their way.”