LA MARQUE — More than six decades ago, the Rev. Bob Moore arrived in Galveston, but just barely. Instead of clocking in as a BOI (born on the island), he might have greeted the world from the aisle of a small aircraft inbound from Dallas.
“My Dad was a resident (physician) at UTMB when my mother flew from Buffalo to Dallas where she switched to a prop job for the leg from Dallas into Galveston. My dad met her at the airport with flowers and was ready to show her all around Galveston.”
Which would not have been the best plan that day.
“Mom just told dad to get her straight to the hospital,” he said.
Moore was born shortly after that abandoned island tour in the comfortable confines of UTMB’s John Sealy Hospital. That was back in 1950. He’s been going strong ever since.
Like many priests of his generation, he’s found retirement elusive. He has been called out of retirement to head La Marque’s St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
Moore said his intervening life as an Episcopal priest has been good preparation for his new post at this small, historic church.
“I got here as soon as I could; it just took me 38 years of ministry to get ready,” he said. “For me, a call to serve is something like seeing an iceberg because I only see the tip sticking above the water. There’s always more below.”
He’s been at St. Michael’s since April, having served at Friendswood’s Good Shepherd Episcopal and other area churches, retiring at least once along the way.
And though similar, small churches with older membership bases may sometimes age out of relevance and fade away, but that’s not on Moore’s agenda for St. Michael’s.
“My plan is to meet, to listen and to serve the people here as well as our greater community,” he said. “Our congregation has a heart for NAMI, ADA House and working with young people and for La Marque Aid and Guidance. I plan to continue to promote our active relationship with these wonderful ministries.”
Moore’s influence seems to be working. The church’s official records show the average Sunday attendance has jumped by 41 percent compared to the previous year.
Longtime member Grace Clifford is on board with Moore’s vision for their parish.
“I have come to learn what a humble and caring man he is,” she said. “He spends countless hours working on plans, but more importantly, he shares his knowledge of the Bible and his love of the Lord with us each Sunday morning.”
And she’s backed up by Cliff Burks, who holds the title of bishop’s warden, a position more or less analogous to being the chairman of the board for this church.
“I brought Father Bob Moore to our vestry meeting where he was unanimously accepted,” Burks said. “As an older church in La Marque, we have many older people who are not able to attend but who enjoy visits at home and having communion brought to them. Visiting nursing homes, hospitals and such has kept him busy.”
Twenty Stephenson serves as the church secretary at St. Michael’s. Asked to characterize her new boss, she pondered and said, “He is a slight man with gentle eyes and a very southern, soft-spoken genteel manner to him. He’s the kind of person you can tell just about anything and know that he will understand and be willing to help. He is exactly the kind of man that St. Michael’s needed.”
At a glance
Meet Father Bob and the rest of St. Michael’s at the church’s annual festival from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 16 at 1601 Lake Road in La Marque. Admission to the event is a nonperishable donation designated for La Marque Aid and Guidance.
The church will serve hot dogs, chips, dessert and drinks and have a bounce house, face painting, other activities and prizes.
For details, call 409-935-3559.
Visit the Friendswood-based ministry known as A Treasure of Dreams. It offers hope for the handicapped only a daily basis.