St. Andrew pastor steps down

Published 10:40 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

 The Rev. Dr. Keith M. Curran is leaving St. Andrew Presbyterian Church after 18 years.

The Rev. Dr. Keith M. Curran is leaving St. Andrew Presbyterian Church after 18 years.

The Rev. Dr. Keith M. Curran has ushered generations of North Suffolk families through life’s milestones.

For the last 18 years, he has baptized, confirmed and married children raised in St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. In a few cases, he has baptized their kids, added Curran, whose last service in St. Andrew’s pulpit will be on Easter Sunday.

“That’s a generation,” said Curran. “I’m easing into retirement … and leaving on a great note, on the day of resurrection.”

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The church, at 1885 Bridge Road, is hosting a farewell social and “hymn-sing” to honor Curran and his wife, Deb, at 7 p.m. tonight. The community is welcome.

Curran has accepted a position as interim pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, a 230-member church in Kilmarnock.

“It’s fulltime but it is a smaller congregation,” said Curran. As an interim pastor, Curran expects to spend 12 to 18 months at the church. He will help the church move forward, guiding the congregation through the selection process of a new, full-time pastor and serving their spiritual needs.

“We see this as a short-term ministry,” said Curran. “It’s a period of transition.”

At the same time, St. Andrew in Suffolk will go through a similar process with its own interim pastor, he said.

The departure from St. Andrew is “bittersweet” for Curran and his wife, who will continue living in Suffolk.

“It’s difficult as we embark on this new adventure,” he said. Saying farewell has been emotional, particularly Wednesday when St. Andrew’s preschool students gave him a good behavior award.

“The support, friendship and love of such a great congregation is what made these the most productive years of my ministry, and it’s hard to leave good friends,” Curran said. “But it seems like a good time to try something new as I near retirement age.”

Since he came to the church in August 1998, St. Andrew has gone through two $1.5 million building projects; staffing has grown from six to 25; and the church has programs for children, teenagers, families and older adults.

Under Curran’s direction, the church has established medical mission connections in the Congo, started an endowment fund and developed staff to meet the church’s strategic goals. The church has set up work camps for youth and adults; hunger programs; a quilting ministry; and traditional programs for music, youth and small groups.

Curran has been active in larger church leadership and has helped other congregations through transitions and changes. During his years at St. Andrew, he has published a book of sermons, been speaker at church conferences, led retreats and written numerous devotions for “The Upper Room” and “These Days.” He has an upcoming devotion in “The Upper Room” in process.