Members of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Tamaqua held a farewell open house this past weekend for Reverend Dr. David Wilson Grant, 67, who retired after giving his last official service on Sunday.

Rev. Grant's last service, which was comprised of a full congregation, had multiple moments of tearful goodbyes, laughs and lengthy hugs.

Rev. Grant was ordained 43 years ago on Dec. 1, 1968, and has served as pastor at numerous churches, such as the Zion U.C.C. in Lehighton. Currently, there is no one to replace Rev. Grant and the Trinity's Pastoral Search Committee will be responsible in finding a new minister.

Rev. Grant, who served 17 years at Trinity, stated, "Here at Trinity, I was privileged to work with our Trinity Friends In Need Food Pantry which was organized several years prior to my arrival."

Rev. Grant added, "We started a monthly Free Soup Kitchen, which is open to the public." Rev. Grant also served as Coordinator of the Tamaqua Ministerial Association for most of his tenure.

During the past 43 years, Grant has performed 437 Baptisms, 235 marriages, 921 funerals and 320 confirmations. "Rev. Grant said, "It would be a great understatement to say that I have enjoyed my 17 years at Trinity Church and the community of Tamaqua. I have seen many improvements in both the Church and the town. I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of my life and ministry. Susan and I leave Tamaqua, but will always have wonderful memories in our hearts."

Rev. Grant had tears of joy as members of the congregation gave Rev. Grant The Honor of the Pastor Emeritus of the United Church of Christ, which was presented by the Schuylkill Association of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference.

Participating in Rev. Grant's last service were the Rev. Nancy L. Gottshall, Interim Co-Conference Minister; Susan McCartney, Schuylkill Association Moderator; Phyllis Paisley, organist and choir director; Roberta Coccio, St. John's choir director; elders David Billig and Elizabeth Morgans, congregational representatives; Frank Walton, soloist; Melody Casler, parish secretary; the Rev. Elaine Boyer, lector; and both the St John's and Trinity choirs.

During the last service, Rev. Grant stated, "Being pastor of Trinity "on the hill" has been a wonderful experience for me. The congregation was very accepting of my style of ministry and hopefully we have seen growth, spiritually, in our outreach to the community, as well as in other ways. Trinity has a bright future."