When I returned home from Florida in early April 2012, I received a phone call from an Elder at Hoge Memorial asking if I could come out twice a month and preach the morning service and also come on the first Sunday of the month, so the congregation could receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. I agreed to do so. Then about a week later, I received a phone call from a different Elder asking if I could make some hospital calls, especially on Barbara Hensel who was in the hospital with cancer. I said “yes”, and so I began doing pastoral calling for Hoge.
Then about six weeks later, the Presbytery Executive asked me to Moderate the Session meetings, and I responded that I could do that. So little by little I came out of retirement and became your part-time preacher and full-time pastor. Little did I know that it would last four years. But I am glad that I did. I love Hoge Memorial. The witness of Rev. A.J. Wold and numerous lay people from Hoge had a tremendous influence on my faith development.
In December 1936, my parents, Jack and Mildred Sensenbrenner and Cliff and Bertha Wolfe joined Hoge Memorial by Letter of Transfer from various churches. A few months earlier, E.B. and Mable McCrady had joined Hoge. In the sand-box room (I suppose it had a more proper title, such as Nursery Room), I met Dick Wolfe and Bill McCrady. We were all four years old. My family never missed Sunday School or Church Worship and neither did the Wolfes or McCradys. So the three of us all went through Sunday School, Christian Endeavor, Junior Church, Youth Fellowship, Confirmation Class and became fast friends. We are still friends to this day. Dick and I also attended Boy Scout Troop 172 which met in the church and played on Hoge Memorial’s Junior and Senior church basketball teams which practiced in the church’s gym.
I was confirmed in 1942 and married in 1952 in the “old” Hoge Memorial on S. Eureka Ave. I was ordained in the “new” Hoge Memorial sanctuary in 1962 along with Bob Schmidt, who was also ordained in the same evening service of Ordination conducted by Columbus Presbytery.
Lois and I attended the dedication service of the new Hoge sanctuary in May of 1954. So I have a long history of participation and service in the ministry of Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church.
It has been a privilege and joy for me to serve Hoge these past four years. I have truly enjoyed getting to know you, the present members of Hoge. I am thrilled with the dedication and service that you give to keep Hoge alive and witnessing to the love of Jesus as you serve the Hilltop community. Your Food Pantry and your Saturday night free meal are tangible expressions of God’s love for all people, and especially those who are poor. You only have to read the Gospel to know that is what Jesus wants us to do.
I have just turned 84 in January of this year and it is time for Hoge to respond to younger leadership. I am very hopeful the new “Partnership” with Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington will work to the benefit and mission of both congregations. I promise that I will keep Hoge Memorial and its members in my prayers. I close with words of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians:
“We always thank God for you all, and always mention you in our prayers. For we remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love made you work so hard and how your hope in the Lord Jesus is firm. We know, friends that God loves you and has chosen you to be His own.” I Thessalonians 1:2-4 Good News Bible (Today’s English Version)