SEAL BEACH – Pastor Don Shoemaker will miss many things once he retires at the end of the year, especially “having the only designated parking spot” at Grace Community Church in Seal Beach.
After 43 years in ministry, 27 at Grace, Shoemaker is passing the torch of leadership.
“Really, I will miss the weekly preaching and worship leading, the warm greetings before and after services, and leading with a great team of staff and lay leaders,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker, who was licensed in 1968, served as an assistant pastor in Elkhart, Ind., before moving to Long Beach in 1970, where he became pastor of Los Altos Brethren Church until 1976. He later joined the theology faculty at Biola University, and in 1984 he became pastor of Grace, where he and his wife, Mary, were already parishioners.
According to Shoemaker, one of his most inspiring life-changing experiences as a minister has been “adjusting to coming from a conservative Midwest culture to the highly secular and religiously diverse culture of Southern California,” he said.