Published in the June 25, 2019 edition.
By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — The installation of Reverend John T. Dale at First Parish Congregational Church on Church Street was held at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 23. A celebratory dinner followed the hour-long service, which included readings from Scripture and music.
In addition to Rev. Dale, participating in the service were clergy members Rev. Terry Shanahan, Rev. Stephen Burkett, Rev. Richard Weisenbach, Rev. Nicholas Granitsas and Rev. Robert Leroe.
Traditional hymns were sung by the choir accompanied by organist Donald Hodgkins with Randy O’Keefe on trumpet. Later in the service, the Cornerstone band sang the “Revelation Song.” Rev. Leroe closed the service with a solo benediction.
Readings were from the Books of Ezekiel and 1 Peter.
Rev. Shanahan used the word “gentle” to coach the congregation on how to support Rev. Dale in his role as Senior Pastor of the church. “G” — be generous with your time and gifts; “E” — be enthusiastic and go outside of your comfort zone; “N” — make positive noise about Rev. Dale. Invite him to Rotary meetings. Make him the center of show and tell; “T” — be teachable by opening your ears, eyes and minds; “L” — let the Holy Spirit lead and never rest on your laurels; “E” — embrace the unity of Christ and you will have a joy that passes all understanding.
Rev. Shanahan then told the congregation to be gentle with their new Pastor to which Rev. Dale replied, “Amen!”
Rev. Burkett then reminded Rev. Dale to “take your vitamins.”
“Love one another in harmony. Be humble and work together,” he advised.
Following Pastor Emeritus Rev. Weisenbach’s administration of the vows of installation, Rev. Granitsas invited the congregation to lay hands on Rev. Dale, who then graciously accepted the honor of being Senior Pastor of the church.
Guests attending the installation came from the South Shore, Wakefield and surrounding communities.
Rev. Dale has served the Christian church for more than 30 years in various pastoral roles. He came to Wakefield earlier this year from a church in Speculator, N.Y., an upstate community, and now has his eyes trained not only on what is currently before him but on the future. One of his missions at First Parish is to grow the church by adding new members, whether entire families or those who are single, widowed or divorced.
“Outreach will be our primary focus,” he said. “We’re hoping to appeal to a wider group of people.”