After eight years on the New England Conference Cabinet, Seacoast District Superintendent David Calhoun is returning to local church ministry.
Members of the Seacoast District, family and friends gathered in person and online to celebrate Dr. Calhoun and say farewell at a worship service on June 18, 2022, at Wesley UMC in Lincoln, RI.
Beginning July 1, Dr. Calhoun will serve as pastor of Trinity UMC in Springfield, MA. The church was part of the former Connecticut Western MA District that Dr. Calhoun served from 2014 to 2020, when the districts were reconfigured. Rev. Wanda Santos-Perez will be the next Seacoast District Superintendent.
Though he served the maximum eight years as DS (a six-year term with two one-year extensions), Dr. Calhoun said Saturday that superintendent was not a role he sought.
“Some of you may not know this about me, but I really struggled with being called to be a District Superintendent,” he said. “Long before I was appointed to this ministry, I remember saying to my wife, ‘I never want to be a district superintendent. I feel sorry for those people, and I pray for them every day, but I would never want to be one of them.”’
“And then there was that phone call from the Bishop …” he said.
In his sermon, Dr. Calhoun talked about what it means to be called – even when we might feel unprepared.
“When God calls us, God does not expect us to be perfect, or to have all of the answers, God calls us to be faithful,” Dr. Calhoun said. “God does not call the qualified. God qualifies the called. The key to serving God is a desire to make a difference and to leave the world a better place.”
He went on to say, “We are all called to represent Jesus in the world, to give the salt its flavor. Long before believers were called Christians, they were known as disciples of Christ. A disciple is one who is in love with Jesus, who studies his word and follows his example … .”
In his remarks, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, cited Dr. Calhoun as one of those living by Jesus’ example:
“It has been a true joy and blessing to journey with brother David as a colleague, guide, spiritual inspirer, critic, and friend. In 1996, the General Conference added the responsibility of servant leadership to the Book of Discipline. Some assumed it would be difficult to be an effective administrator and servant leader at the same time,” the bishop said. “To be able to do both well is a special gift, and David has proven through his ministry and as secretary of the Cabinet that it is indeed possible to be both.”
The bishop also took time to thank the Calhoun family:
“David, I am thankful beyond words for you and must also publicly thank Seacoast District’s first lady, Julie, for sharing you so generously and graciously with us. Julie, your sacrifice, and that of your family, has blessed me, this district, and the New England Conference.”
The service included the presentation of gifts and was followed by a meal and reception.
“I think it is important for those of us who work in the church to be reminded every now and then, that what we do matters,” Dr. Calhoun said. “When Jesus gave us the name of ‘salt’ he was reminding us that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to be an influence in the world. We have a voice, a place, and a people. This world of our is a needy place, full of hurting people. We have among us the betrayed, the bereaved, the lonely, the angry and the bitter. God has blessed us with the opportunity and the privilege of introducing them to Jesus.”