The Pastor Leaves Palisades Lutheran Church and Ends a 30-Year Career in Ordained Ministry
Palisades Lutheran Church Pastor Kenneth Davis ended a 30-year career in ordained ministry and two-and-a-half years at Palisades Lutheran Church with a final sermon last Sunday, June 23.
Davis explained to the Palisadian-Post that though the decision to leave may have been sudden to the community, it was a decision a long time in the making—and that a hate speech incident at Ralphs was not his reason for leaving.
“I don’t know if the incident on April 18 had a whole lot of bearing on my decision, other than to confirm that I really wanted to do something in the area of race relations in a venue where I feel that my voice can be heard by more than just the local congregation,” Davis previously said.
More than 200 people from different faiths and walks of life joined together to celebrate the capstone moment in a career that touched many community members.
“Today is bittersweet,” Davis said at the Sunday sermon, thanking all who attended.
Representatives from each of the congregations that Davis served over his career, along with his family members, offered heartfelt tributes to him from the pulpit, recollecting the ways in which his ministry, friendship and fatherhood touched their lives.
Daughters Kennadi, Cassadi and Camryn were the first to offer tributes.
“My dad is truly a miracle,” Kennadi said. “Dad, I hope that in this next chapter of your life you experience newness and a freshness, and I want you to enter this new beginning with the same confidence you’ve always shown me as my dad, no matter what.”
“After my attempted suicide, it was very challenging for me to just feel empowered to get through the day,” Camryn shared. “My dad tried endlessly to make me feel comfortable and give me the will to live. I can’t thank you enough for that because I wouldn’t be here without you.”
Davis’ older brother Delroy spoke next.
“Even though I’m the oldest, I look up to him a lot,” Delroy said. “There have been many times where hearing him speak gave me comfort and purpose. Wherever he goes … I’ll be there for him.”
Other tributes were given by Lord of Life Lutheran parishioner Shelly Palitais, Good Shepard Lutheran parishioner Shirley Mooseberger, Christ the King Lutheran parishioner Ron Sheffer and Steve Thomas with Palisades Lutheran Church.
“I didn’t just find a great pastor—I found a great friend,” Thomas said. “I’m sorry for the decision that has led you to leave us. I know whoever comes into contact with you, our loss will be their gain.”
Congregants were then treated to a video montage of Pastor Davis’ best sermons entitled “The Best of the ‘Sermonator.’”
“How do you measure 30 years of ministry?” Davis said in a reflection on his career.
“How do you measure success? Is it by the number of members? By the size of the budget? By the who’s-who that attend the congregation? No. How I measure success in my ministry is if I can help somebody as I travel along. If I can cheer somebody who is suffering … then my living shall not have been in vain.”
Kennadi then performed a moving liturgical dance to “My Help” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. After the offering and Holy Communion, Davis offered blessings and led the prayers of the church one final time.
With his daughters at his side, Davis stepped down from the pulpit, through the pews and into the church courtyard, where he was surrounded by well-wishers offering handshakes, hugs, teary goodbyes and their warmest thanks.