At yesterday’s Presbytery meeting we received word that David Droog passed away. I can’t helped but share a tribute to his gifts, skills, and faith.
He served as an Interim pastor for as long as I’ve known him. I probably don’t have a complete list of all the places he's served, but I know that he’s served Presbyterian Churches as an Interim in Rochester, Hudson, Kasson, Burnsville, and Peace UCC in Rochester. He also served the Presbyterian Churches in Claremont and Austin.
David had the rare combination of a tough skin and a soft heart. As an Interim I think he understood that people would be upset at some of the processes that he initiated during that time period. That never seemed to deter or bother him. But David was not at all a callous man. He was very compassionate with the people whom he served.
I remember talking to him once when he was serving as an Interim at Peace UCC. He had just completed some advanced course work in Christian Education. He shared with me that he did this because he recognized that the youth learned in a very different way, and he wanted to understand how he could effectively communicate to them. I was so impressed that a man at his age—I’m guessing at that time he was in his middle or late 50’s—would get more education in order to communicate more effectively. David did not coast in his later years.
David was one of the best Interims that I knew. I was secretly hoping that he would serve as the Interim at Community Presbyterian in Plainview. David knew the tasks of an Interim Pastor, and he stuck with them with admirable tenacity. I have some questions about the value of Interim ministry, but I never questioned that David would leave a church in a better place compared to when he started.
David was a trusted colleague. Once when I was experiencing a difficult relationship in my work I called David and asked him to go out for lunch. I was told that he could provide some insight into this relationship. Though he was very busy, he took the time to listen to my story. His counsel was spot-on. He understood what was happening and helped give me clarity to the situation.
I was so impressed by one of the final letters David sent announcing the because of his health he had to leave First Presbyterian in Rochester. He asked that all of us pray that he could give thanks in all circumstances. For the past week I’ve offered this petition in my prayer life. I was touched that David could face the end of his life knowing that while he didn’t want to be in that place he was still willing to give thanks. That is the sign of a mature faith.
We’ll miss you David. We’ll miss your honesty, your laugh, your wisdom, your willingness to be with congregations during an important transition, and your faith. The world is a poorer place today compared to yesterday.
Praise God for the life of David Droog!!