For recent sermons and other thoughts, please visit Doug's blog, "without walls"!
I believe that...
... God is the Creator of all things, bringing order out of chaos. God created humanity to be in relationship with God and with one another. It is living in that relationship that we best display what it means to be made in the "image of God." God is faithful, God is good, God will provide.
... Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and, through Christ, we are reconciled to God. Jesus, fully human, fully divine, came as the ultimate example for humanity preaching justice, liberation and love; teaching through living example and spoken word.
... the Holy Spirit is the Sustainer of our faith and our life in Christ. The Spirit binds us together in relationship as community, as the Body of Christ. The Spirit inspires through the Word proclaimed and empowers all Christians to love and serve God and neighbor.
... the church, bound by the Spirit, is called to proclaim through word and deed God's love for all people.
... the Bible is the story of God's relentless, gracious quest to reconcile the human community so that we might know a life defined by justice, love and peace for all people regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, social status, sexual orientation or gender. This same message is expressed in the Torah, the prophets, the psalms, the gospels and the epistles.
The Rev. Dr. Douglas D. Gerdts
Pastor/Head of Staff
PHONE 302 654-5371
I was born and raised in and around New York City until my teenage years when I moved to a Detroit suburb. During high school, I attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, MI; first as a day student, and finishing as a boarder. Following graduation, I continued my westward migration and settled in Santa Barbara, where I attended the University of California, majoring in Business Economics.
My career in the hotel business began during college when I was hired by a young entrepreneur with a vision of restoring classic small resorts on the California coast. I shared that dream and we worked together for 14 years, renovating and building a dozen hotels ranging from exclusive coastal resorts in the west to large convention hotels in Arizona, Colorado, and the east coast.
Not only did the hotel business provide gainful, challenging employment; it also served as the introduction to my wife of many years, Walle. We courted over the front desk of a hotel, married, and began our family in Santa Barbara.
As our children reached school age, we sensed a need to relocate to a more "family-friendly" environment. Walle and I consequently embarked on an in-depth study of the United States looking for the "perfect" (for us, at least) hometown. We systematically analyzed the demographics and descriptions of over 30 cities fitting our initial profile and selected Lexington, KY. After I took a weeklong scouting trip, we moved our family east to a city where we knew no one.
Lexington turned out to be great. Our family has been swarmed with friends, received quality education, and enjoyed unparalleled quality of life. It was in Lexington that I surrendered to a nagging push (nothing gentle and graceful like a "call"!) to ministry that had its inception years earlier in a vibrant and active UCC Congregational Church in Santa Barbara. Walle went back to work full-time and I went under care of Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church in Lexington and attended Lexington Theological Seminary.
After seminary I was called by Maxwell Street as their Associate Pastor and continued yet another stage in a relationship with that congregation. That community of faith has been, and continues to be, defined by joy, movement of the Spirit, and risk-filled forays in the search of justice. While at Maxwell Street, Walle too gave in to a long-term call on her life, resigned from her job as the Executive Director of a professional hockey team (AHL) and enrolled in nursing school. She graduated after two arduous years and is currently a pediatric oncology nurse working in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at A. I. Hospital for Children. She has recently recieved her certification as a "Healing Touch International" Healing Touch Practitioner and is beginning her practice in that discipline.
In 2001, I accepted an interim position with First Presbyterian in Maysville, KY; a small historic city perched on the Ohio River. Serving the congregation of that city-center church was a time of growth and energy heightened by a strong sense of heritage and tradition.
Since July of 2003 our family has lived in Wilmington and in just a short time, came to consider this city to be our home. In so many ways, I see my life's experiences, both ecclesiastical and secular, as leading me to the doors of First & Central Presbyterian Church in the city center of Wilmington. This inclusive community of gifted and diverse people continually challenges, teaches, and cares for one another in exciting and creative ways. It is a privilege to serve among people of faith with a passion for justice and love. I am convinced that as God's Spirit leads the people of this extraordinary church, we shall joyfully, lovingly and with great vigor pursue the peace, justice, and reconciliation that Christ embodied.
In an effort to continually equip myself to effectively serve the church and the community, I pursued a Doctor in Ministry degree which I received in May of 2008 from Lancaster Theological Seminary. My area of focus was urban ministry and my dissertation was entitled "We Are The Ones -- A Case Study of the Interfaith Coalition: Building Blocks for Wilmington."
God continually brings new beginnings; to First & Central, especially! We embark anew on a road this church has traveled for generations with companions rested for the journey. God calls us from tomorrow, we follow that Spirit of restlessness and, together, strong and faithful, we seek to serve the least of our sisters and brothers.