Pastor David Lura retires June 30

Pastor David Lura, wife Colleen and son Daniel take a moment for a family photo after church last Sunday. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Pastor David Lura, wife Colleen and son Daniel take a moment for a family photo after church last Sunday.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

On July 1 there will be a new pastor at First United Methodist Church in Oak Harbor for the first time in 23 years. In a church where the average pastoral transition ranges from five to eight years, this Oak Harbor house of worship is an exception.

Pastor David Lura of Oak Harbor’s First United Methodist Church will retire June 30, but not without a heartfelt farewell. The parish is hosting a luau-themed aloha send-off in honor of Pastor David and his wife Colleen on Sunday, May 23 with a concert featuring the Chancel and Praise Ringers Bell choirs and Touch of Faith Singers. A reception will follow in Centennial Hall.

Pastor David will be sorely missed nonetheless.

“Pastor David’s longevity is very much the exception to the rule,” said Ann Oldham, a member for the church since 1983.

During Lura’s 23 years in Oak Harbor, he’s created the disciple Bible study series for adults, supported youth education and Stephen Ministry, and started a co-ed church softball league, Oldham said.

Lura, a retired Navy chaplain, said it’s time to start a new chapter in life.

“Oak Harbor made a good fit for someone who has Navy credentials,” he said.

Methodist pastors receive yearly appointments and Pastor Lura has had more than a few opportunities to leave Whidbey Island, notably in 1996, 2005, 2006, and again in 2008 when he was asked by the bishop if he’d like to serve at another church, but he decided to stay.

Born and raised in the Midwest as a Lutheran, Lura learned of and preferred the Methodist ways.

“I joined the denomination because I liked the team concept,” he said.

Initially, he and Colleen planned to move wherever the church life may take them. They bought a timeshare at Lake Chelan because they wanted a constant place to build family memories with their son Daniel, now 20 years old. Yet they’ve remained on the rock.

Colleen spoke in front of the congregation for the first time Sunday on “Ministry through the eyes of a pastor’s wife.” It was spot-on, said Ginger Opdyke, a 16-year church member.

“It had me in tears because is was just perfect,” she said. “They both promoted and have been in charge of programs that emphasize relationships and caring for one another on the deepest levels.”

Kevin and Susan Davis also enjoyed Colleen Lura’s “emotional and touching” sermon. The couple were married eight years ago by Pastor Lura at the First Untied Methodist Church.

If the name of the incoming pastor is any indication of the change, the church community shouldn’t have anything to worry about, other than remembering to refer to the new pastor as “Dave” instead of “David.”

The incoming Pastor, Dave Johnson of Spokane Valley United Methodist, Church, will take over July 1.

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