I have been on face book for years, but I rarely post anything. So for anyone who might care, here is an update on my life since 2014.

I was honorably retired from Newton Presbytery in June of 2014 where I had served as pastor of the New Vernon Presbyterian Church for seven years.

During that time, Prudy and I had a new home built in a 55+ community back in Mechanicsburg PA. In 2015, my mom passed away.

We love our house, but we would love to be closer to kids and grand kids in Pittsburgh.  So we are trying to sell our house here and move west.

After retiring and moving back to central PA, I accepted the job of interim pastor at a church in Dauphin PA. The Hope U. P. Church was a wonderful congregation. I really enjoyed my work with them until March of this year when they called a very talented young woman to be their shared pastor with another church nearby.

Here is what our kids have been up to.

Jason: Lives in Northumberland. He has twins named Ainsley and Jason who are 15

Jennifer: Lives in  Galloway New Jersey. She has two boys, Vincent, 11 and Lucas 9

Jill: Lives in Pittsburgh and has two boys, Alexander, 5 and Julius, 2

Kate: Lives in England. She has a daughter Juliet, 8 and Simon 7

Hope lives in Pittsburgh and has one daughter Eve, 6 months

Jill lives in Pittsburgh and will be married in 2018

Dalitso lives in Hummelstown and has one son, Josh, 9

You will have to forgive me if i got some of the ages wrong.  My memory is not as good as it once was and my memory is not as good as it once was.

Our grand children are the most precious gifts in our lives.

Prudy and I are well with the usual ailments of arthritis and other assorted age-related issues. We have done a lot of traveling since retirement and have really loved it.

We are both trying our hand at writing.  Prudy has written several children’s books. I have written a series of essays on ministry which we will self-publish soon. I have also written a series of short stories and I am working on a novel.  Don’t look for me on the New York Times best seller list just yet.


A minister was invited to dinner at the home of members of his church. When he arrived, the mother proudly told him that her 6 year old daughter had set the table by herself. When they sat down to eat, the mom noticed that there was no silverware at the pastor’s spot. “Honey, why didn’t you set silverware at the pastor’s place?”  “Well mommy I didn’t think he needed them. Daddy says he eats like a horse.”

What do you know, preacher?

The title of my collection of essays which will be published soon, is Wadda Ya Know Preacher?

The title is explained in the introduction for the essays. A retired funeral director named Mr. Stover greeted me the same way each time we met. Whadda ya know, preacher?  The essays are an attempt to answer that question. But I realize that I continue to learn and grow in spite of retirement.

You don’t learn how to be a pastor and a preacher in seminary. They give you some basic tools that will help you once you are in a local church. But you don’t really learn how to do this work until you are on the job.

I have served a variety of churches over the years.Some of them were small and some large. Some were urban and others were suburban or rural. Some of those churches were wealthy and some were very poor, And while the experiences vary from one church to another there are similarities in all of them. One cynical friend described it as “Different circus; same clowns,”

What I plan to do in this blog is to tell some of those stories in brief.  The stories are on topics such as:

  • The day the robin flew into the sanctuary and sat and listened to the whole sermon.
  • The moment of truth when I got a speeding ticket
  • The battle over the American flag
  • Everybody goes home from church barefoot

Some stories are funny. Others are sad. They are all true events that took place in my years of ministry.

I have developed a style of preaching that usually begins with a story or a joke that pertains to the theme of the sermon. From time to time, I will include some of those in case you want to borrow one for one of your sermons.



Hello, my name is Rick Sweeney

Hello! My name is Rick Sweeney. I have served as a Presbyterian pastor for the last forty years.  In this blog, I want to share some thoughts about ministry and life as I have experienced them.

Some of the things I will be sharing will have to do with preaching, pastoral care, church humor, staff issues and more.

I hope that you will follow as I recount the lessons I have learned and am still learning.

Look for information about a book that I am about to publish that is entitled Whadda Ya Know, Preacher?