Pastor Dave Edmunds

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, in a suburb called Penn Hills, in the warm shadow of 2 older sisters (Karen & Beth) and 1 older brother (Tom), whom I idolized. Tom was the neighborhood comic, active in high school and community theatre, and he seemed to have this uncanny ability of commanding people’s attention through laughter. I was hooked, and wanted to be just like him! I graduated in a class of 1200 from Penn Hills High School, where I was actively involved in music, theatre, Young Life, church, neighborhood football, and summer softball league play. I had my share of weird and wooley childhood moments–“borrowing” cow corn from a neighboring farm to pelt house awnings and passing cars in the early evenings of fall before Halloween; accidently setting a nearby farm field on fire when my friend and I were sixth graders experimenting with cigarettes; dressing up like Shirley Temple to sing and dance “On The Good Ship Lollipop” for a junior high variety show; and one of my “proudest” moments…pretending to go to the bathroom during church services one Sunday, only to enter the choir rehearsal room in order to “borrow” $5 from one of the ladies’ purses left there, so I could go to the movies later on. I share all of this to let you know that I was a pretty normal kid growing up–mischievous sometimes, rebellious other times, and downright cute most of the time (a little too thick? ok, I’ll try to be careful in the future!).

I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania after spending all of about 15 seconds choosing a career path based solely on…”I was pretty good with math!”…and began as a business major. God had a different plan for me though as I quickly discovered. Through an amazing set of circumstances, and the feedback of some adult mentors in my life, I was convinced that God was challenging me to enter ministry (ask me about the story sometime–I love to tell it, especially the part about my weeping mother, and I thought to myself–“what did I do now?”). That’s when I transitioned into the English Department to get a B.A. I graduated in 1981, and promptly married my high school sweetheart, Marcy (although she didn’t know it at the time we went to high school together!). I volunteered with Young Life High School Outreach Ministries for 2 years while working in the graphics business. Marcy and I then moved to the Boston area while I attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to get a Masters of Divinity degree (which only proves that seminaries give even troublemakers like me a chance!).

I then accepted a call to my first pastorate at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in downtown Erie, where I served a wonderful congregation for 12 years–in many ways it was like an on-the-job training program–and their patience was forever forgiving my occasional ineptitude! Along the way my wife and I had 3 amazing children: Rachel, now 31, living in NYC while working as a leasing agent in a large commercial real estate firm in Manhattan; Rebecca, now 27, also living in NYC and pursuing a career on Broadway in musical theatre; and Tim, now 25, a recent graduate of Point Park University, with a BS in sports, arts, & entertainment management (hoping to become a sporting scout for professional or collegiate football/basketball programs). He is currently working full-time as a bank teller.

I then took an interim associate pastoral position at 1st Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, as theirs was retiring. What a gift from God this was to serve with such a visionary, faith-driven, and warm congregation and staff. It was during this time that I went through the process of asking God’s direction and then discerning a call into the PC(USA). I had been ordained by the UCC in 1987 in Pittsburgh, but after 16 years of ministry experience, I felt called to transfer my standing to the Presbyterian Church. The Lake Erie Presbytery of the PC(USA) was generously helpful in aiding my transition, and welcoming me with open arms!

This was the wild and wacky journey that brought me to Belle Valley Presbyterian Church as full time pastor 14 years ago…a congregation of such talented, warm, faithful and passionate disciples of Jesus Christ! I believe God is doing some wondrous things in us, among us, and through us as we move out of our comfort zones into the darkness, the woundedness, and the brokenness of hurting people all around us–not because we have all the answers, or “have it all together,” but because we are also a broken, wounded people who’ve found healing love in a dynamically forgiving and transforming Rescuer…Jesus Christ! January 1, 2017 Belle Valley and Elmwood Presbyterian Churches entered into a shared pastoral agreement that I would pastor half time at each church.  This will be a rich learning experience of discovering God’s visionary presence and power in each of our church’s missions.   In my “spare time” (what’s that?) I love music, playing guitar, performing in community theatre, watching the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins with my family and friends, reading, video gaming, and becoming a Seinfeld-a-phobe! God has developed a renewed zeal for mission in my heart through the PC(USA)–particularly in Ghana, as I’ve had the privilege of helping to form our Presbytery’s mission partnership with the Upper Northern Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana. God is great and gracious, and what a privilege I’ve had to be in His service (with all my warts and failings) for 30 years. And yet I feel like I’ve only just started!!
Yours In Christ, Dave