WE REMEMBER: Rev. James Arnot
Rev. Jim was a perfect interim pastor for Hoge. He was kind, thoughtful and a welcoming open person. He understood poverty. He realized he was a pastor for persons who had different approaches to Presbyterianism. He was tactful and tolerant. Earlier in his career he had been a teacher.
He listened to NPR. I discovered this one Election Day after I had voted and gone up to church to work. He met me and said I had been on NPR. he told me I had been interviewed by a national reporter when I came from the Westgate Recreation Center after voting. I had not realized that the person I had spoken with was a reporter.
I was on Session during his time at Hoge and in charge of the Outreach committee. We worked with and visited the Latin American church that was in the free store on Sullivant. It was a great committee with many new ideas. We accomplished much but sometimes he would slow us down and say perhaps some of the ideas should wait for his replacement . This was an indication of his wisdom.
He usually attended the Outreach meetings and encouraged us. We had students from Otterbein work with our congregation. One Sunday they had lunch and conducted a survey after. Then tallied and reported back to us. We continued this program for several semesters. At the last class, the Otterbein students invited us to lunch on campus. We tried to put some of the Otterbein suggestions in place. I think that is when one of the rooms was turned over to the choir and some of the others were cleaned and updated. During some cleaning at the church we found pictures and put them up in the library. One of the Outreach goals was for each committee chair on session to send information to their committee members so that each committee knew what the other committees were doing. Lack of communication was a concern. I can't remember all of the committee members but Andy Blosser was there along with several other younger persons.
One thing Rev. Arnot did was before the Iraq War he invited the congregation to an evening meeting to discuss the happenings of the time.. Five attended. Many Presbyterian churches were concerned at this time because the "weapons of mass destruction" had been doubted. Most of the group was against the war. Jim told us about the church doctrine of "a good war". I'd never heard of that before.
Jim was understanding of folks. He was kind to my husband, who had been a Catholic as a child. Toward the end of his life he was tired and in pain and not always clear thinking. Sometimes he'd call the pastor, "Father" and other titles. Jim laughed. He did Al's funeral as I requested. It was simple and most appropriate.
Rev. Arnot died shortly after my husband. His funeral was held at Hoge and conducted by a member of the Presbytery who thought it inappropriate to hold the funeral at Hoge. But the congregation wanted it at Hoge. Jim always stood by Hoge and worked for us. I always regretted not speaking up when we were given the opportunity.But one young man stood and said what all of us were thinking. I have blessed Steve Ormsby ever since.
by Nancy Loik