I was teaching high school in Bassett, Virginia and visiting churches on Sunday mornings in the early 1980’s when it hit me: CHURCH WAS BORING ME TO TEARS...and I knew I wasn’t alone in that perception. I’m STILL not alone in that perception! Back then, my boredom with church became a clear call to me to go to seminary and begin thinking about ways God might be able to use me to change what people saw and felt about church. Growing up a preacher’s kid, I knew that church could be fun and meaningful at the same time…it just took a little extra effort.
Now, 27 years later, well, I’m just getting warmed up…and I think that one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard from a fellow Christ-follower at church was this: “You know, church here is like what Forrest Gump said…a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.” Praise God!
I love the church and I love my vocation…and I love the people here at OHPC who are deeply committed to making the kingdom come “on earth as it is in heaven” and I will strive to help us continue to fulfill our purpose to “experience and express the love of Jesus Christ.”
I was going to end there and then our webmaster said: “It’s a bio, Pastor Bob…tell the folks some more about yourself.” I said, “I like to do that in person.” He said, “Do it here!”
So…not to disappoint SteveO…here’s some stuff about me: I love my wife Karen and we are proud of our two married kids Drew and Julianne…and their choice of life partners, Andrea and Kyle respectively. Karen and I also love our first grandson, Connor William Helfrich, born to Julianne and Kyle in September 2017. I enjoy hiking and canoeing and all things outdoors. I love movies and books and throwing pots on my wheel in my basement studio. I enjoy teaching a public speaking class at Onondaga Community College and it is, for sure, an outreach for the church. I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, strawberry Twizzlers and good red wine.
Bio coming soon.
My name is Sarah (Moses) Buckshot and I’ve been the youth educator since July 2011. I was born and raised in Nedrow and I graduated from Onondaga Central High School. I attended Syracuse University to study newspaper journalism, psychology and Native American studies. I earned my master’s degree from Syracuse University in 2010 with a degree in cultural foundations of education. I currently work at the Syracuse Media Group as a community reporter for The Post-Standard/Syracuse.com. When I’m not working I enjoy running, watching football and spending time with my husband and our families.
Hello my name is Andrée Clesse (Andrée pronounced ON’-dray….and Clesse which rhymes with dress for all you non-francophones). I was born in Québec Canada where such names are not unusual, of Belgian heritage. My husband’s name is Ted, who supports me in all things and even changes my guitar strings. I love crisp tart apples, snow when it twinkles, and Hawaiian sunsets.
I have the honor at OHPC of leading some enthusiastic people known as the Praise Team who share their musical talents and spiritual gifts at worship and beyond. Their dedication and willingness to serve in so many ways is what makes my ministry such a joy.
I joined the staff as Praise Team Director in February 2004 after reading a want-ad in the newspaper.
For the record, I never read the classified section of the paper. At that time I was frequenting a physical rehabilitation facility near my home. One day when walking on the treadmill, one of the physical therapists had some music playing in one of the treatment rooms. I started to ask about the music and it led to a conversation about all things music and then about all things church (what else is there to do when walking on a treadmill?). I asked: “What church do you go to and what kind of music do they have there?” He replied that there was a Praise Team but the leader was leaving and they were in the process of looking for a replacement. I asked: “where is this church?” “Oh it’s on the other side of town, Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church.” I said: “the white one, with the steeple?” “That’s it” he said.
I replied: “Yeah, well I just applied for that job!” and with the same breath I asked: “could I use you as a reference, George?”
That weekend, I came to worship at OHPC to get a better sense of what I might be getting myself into.
I figured I’d sit in the back and blend in. That didn’t work out as I had planned. During the passing of peace, strangers approached, introducing themselves. I felt welcomed. I was moved by the music,
the prayerfulness, and the preaching. When Pastor Bob gave the benediction….”you go nowhere by accident, wherever you go God is sending you….” I nearly fell out of my chair.
And thus began my “you go nowhere by accident” journey. But I was on that journey before I had even heard Bob’s benediction. God was already there…waiting for me to catch up.
I hope that he is patient and waits for me…..it’s hard to run while singing and playing the guitar.
Although my full-time career is being a high school math teacher, I have been involved in church music ministry for about as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school, the pastor of the church where I grew up would take me to hymn sings in the community on Sunday evenings, where I started to sing with the choir. By the time I was in high school, I was the pianist at another small church, and I have served at least 3 other churches of various denominations and musical tastes since then.
After my son was born, my wife Tara and I began discussing the fact that we could no longer drive 30 miles to church several times a week. Although we had visited OHPC, we had not had any communication with them for a year when Pastor Bob called me out of the blue because they were looking for an organist. Sometimes, God really has a way of kicking you in the rear to move you along His path!! The rest, as they say, is history. I have been at OHPC since the fall of 2005. It is a great community for us to raise our son and daughter, Carter and Skylar.