Rev. Dr. David Oyler spent more than two years serving as the temporary part-time executive presbyter at Beaver-Butler Presbytery while also being the general presbyter at the Presbytery of Lake Erie. David stepped away from Beaver-Butler Presbytery in late December prior to the presbytery hiring Tom Harmon to be the executive presbyter in January of 2021. He had retired from Lake Erie a few months earlier after serving as general presbyter for 17 years.
David’s work at Beaver-Butler was instrumental as the presbytery searched for the next person to lead that region. What follows are a few comments of appreciation by people who worked with David during his 29 months at Beaver-Butler:
2020 Presbytery Moderator
David Oyler came to our presbytery to be our temporary executive presbyter with energy and passion. He quickly became a friend of mine and also a person that I gleaned plenty of knowledge and insights from. He truly helped me serve as moderator with his guidance and presence at our meetings.
David led us as our first “Zoom Executive” in unprecedented times for Christ’s church. I easily saw the “Fruits of the Spirit” on display in person and on my screen. Patience, gentleness, kindness and peace easily come to mind when thinking of his words and leadership. The virtues of temperance and grace shined in his work as well.
As a presbytery, we continue to find ourselves in a time of change and transformation. David pulled up a chair and joined in the journey of discussions, planning and brainstorming. With an eye on the future, he kept us in check and in touch with the Holy Spirit’s inner voice.
Then COVID came and we all know the story concerning all churches and pastors. David was our rock and our comfort. Both were needed.
I recall a poem by William Stafford titled, “A Ritual to Read to Each Other.” It starts: “If you don’t know the kind of person I am, and I don’t know the kind of person you are, a pattern that others made may prevail in the world, and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.”
Our shining star is of course Emmanuel (God with us). Even with all of our struggles, anxiety and even uncertainty, David never failed to keep our eyes and hearts fixated on the Lord our God. David led and we followed. All of us learned together, around the table and screens.
I wish David all the blessings in his future endeavors, and there will certainly be those times. The Lord provided him with too many spiritual gifts to not use him again and again for his Kingdom. Grace and peace to you my brother in Christ, and from all of us, thank you.
Coordinating Team Chairperson
David, you came to us from the northland, anything north of I-80 is in the frozen tundra to us. You drove back and forth from Erie to the presbytery office two days a week and for special meetings for months and months. Some nights your drives home were in snow and ice, but we never heard complaints.
You have been available to us by email, phone and cell phone whether during your agreed upon hours and days or not. Thank you for being so present to us and our needs.
You have been gracious, patient beyond measure, sensitive, thoughtful and insightful. You have been very careful in your suggestions as to how we may do things a bit differently. You have gone more than the “extra mile.” Thank you, David.
You and Becky moved into our bounds in July and we are happy to claim you in our midst. I want to make sure you hear our invitation to you to become a member of Beaver-Butler Presbytery. We want to call you, as one of our own.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Read by Gary Angleberger at David’s final Beaver-Butler Presbytery meeting on Dec. 21
We give thanks for the service of the Rev. Dr. David Oyler among us in the Beaver-Butler Presbytery as our interim executive presbyter. He taught us many things over these two years and has prepared us to move on to seek and call another executive presbyter to lead us in this approaching year.
We have learned under his leadership to affirm our gifts as a presbytery and to recognize the areas in which we are strong and the areas of ministry that may need renewed effort and leadership. David has called forth new leadership from among us and has challenged all of us to be open to new ways that come with new times. He has helped us see more clearly our strengths and to be realistic about our limitations. He has helped us realize that there are many possibilities to be explored and realized as a presbytery that there are resources among us to tackle these challenges.
David’s style has invited new and different people to involvement in presbytery and its leadership roles. We need the wisdom and grace to encourage these new gifts available to our mutual service to our Lord. We do not know precisely what challenges we may be called upon to face as we move into this new year, but we know that we have been prepared by our good leadership and faithful presbyters to move forward in hope and confidence toward the challenges the unfolding years may hold.
We pray for God’s spirit to be with David as he enters another chapter of his life in Christ and that he will be blest with many memories of service among us and upheld by the gracious promises of God for all those whom He has called to serve.
In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.