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One final sermon


Last Sunday’s sermon at Union Hill Baptist Church was the Rev. Barry McConathy’s swan song from the pulpit he occupied for more than 21 years.

The 64-year-old pastor retired  from the active ministry.

On Monday, he and his wife, Charlene, finished pulling up stakes and moved to Tecumseh where he’s purchased some land and plans to build a home.

“The biggest thing is not my age,” he said last week.

Rather, it’s the fact that “young ministers reach young families.”

“Young families and children need to know the Lord,” McConathy said. “He laid that on my heart.”

A native Texan, McConathy pastored a church in Houston for 15 years before he was asked to submit a resume to Union Hill.

“We felt that’s what the Lord wanted us to do,” he recalled. 

Following a visit during which McConathy preached a sermon, the church’s search committee extended a call to him.

He arrived in October 1999.

The rural church has grown in more than two decades and pre-pandemic was drawing about 300 to worship services.

When COVID-19 shuttered many houses of worship, Union Hill responded with a parking lot service with the sermon delivered over car radios.

In October, in-house worship resumed.

On Sunday, there is a mask-required service at 8:30 a.m. and a mask optional service at 10 a.m.

The car radio service continues to be offered at 8:30 a.m.

In addition, all services at the church are livestreamed on social media.

“We try to accommodate people in worship,” he said.

McConathy said the church was debt-free when he arrived in 1999.

During his tenure, there have been major expansion at the church, including remodeling every building and constructing a 7,300-square-foot fellowship hall.

All has been done without borrowing any money.

With all of the building experience, it’s no surprise McConathy plans to build that home outside Tecumseh himself.

He and his wife chose Tecumseh because their daughter lives there. They also have a son who lives at Yukon.

He will join a church at Tecumseh and should an opportunity arise to fill in for another pastor, he’s open to that.

He admitted his final sermon to his Union Hill congregation “obviously wasn’t easy for me.”

His sermon topic was “Christmas is a Time for Giving.”


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