Two decades behind pulpit

The Rev. Richard Drankwalter is retiring. He doesn't know what the future holds, but knows it's in His hands.

Published March 3, 2007

Richard Drankwalter is a father to two, a grandfather to five and a pastor to the 600 or so members of Christ Lutheran Church in Brooksville. Drankwalter, 62, is originally from Queens Village, N.Y., and moved here in 1987 from upstate New York, and now his son is a doctor in Columbus, Ohio, and his wife and daughter are teachers at J.D. Floyd Elementary in Spring Hill. Wednesday, after growing up in a family of five in a small house with three bedrooms and just one bath, after high school and junior college in New York and college in Indiana and seminary in Illinois, after 20 years of leading Christ Lutheran, the Rev. Richard Drankwalter is retiring.

I live my life by one statement every day: I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future. It's Him.

We must understand if we ever think we can do it all by ourselves we had better sit down right now and never bother getting up again.

The world has changed. Everybody in the neighborhood was kind of my mother. If my mother wasn't there, somebody else's would give me a whack on the head.

Everybody learns differently.

You don't realize it when you're young, but my mother was amazing. She "loved" the chicken wings because we ate the breast and the legs. She never had apple pie because there were never enough pieces. You don't realize that when you're a kid. You realize later how much she sacrificed.

Where people live now is a house and no longer a home. Other than eat and sleep, what do they do there? We ate supper at 5:30 every night. That's where we were. And we all pitched in cleaning up afterwards. Our house was a home.

I got my earring 11 years ago. I wanted to do it when I was 16 - but my mother. The earring didn't change me. I'm the same person after as I was before.

It's okay not to be first.

My wife and I were married on Aug. 18. My daughter was married on Nov. 18. My grandson was born on May 18. My granddaughter was born on Feb. 18 at 12:01 a.m. If I was a betting man, I'd bet on 18, I guess. I never preach behind the pulpit. I start there. But then I just walk up there and talk to them.

Money's not bad. The love of money is what's the root of all evil.

I've never used an ATM. I don't have a pin number. I'm serious. My kids think I'm crazy.

My kids came from a place called Silver Creek, N.Y. My son was No. 1 in his class. He had a girlfriend. My daughter had all kinds of friends. They just didn't want to move here. Two years later they admitted it was the best thing we ever did.

Every time that we overlook the needs of our fellow man and close our eyes and hearts to what we see, every time we are not willing to love our brothers and sisters in faith and all of mankind and refuse to forgive the wrong they have done ... we have made the wrong decision and we have let go of the rope and find ourselves sinking in the cold, dark water, and we are beginning to drown.

I write my sermons on Monday morning from 6:30 to about 9:30. That's my quiet time.

I've been so blessed.

The material for this report comes from an interview with Drankwalter and also from the text of some of his favorite sermons he's given over the years. Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@sptimes.com or 352 848-1434.