Salem Lutheran and United Church of Christ in Lincolnton recently welcomed interim pastor Rev. Dr. David R. Keck Sr., a nearly five-decade veteran of the field and former paper boy for the Lincoln Times-News, after being without a pastor for more than a year.
The Lincolnton resident, who officially started with the church on Friday, already has high hopes for both himself and his 50-member congregation.
“My hope is to serve the members of Salem faithfully and effectively,” he said, “helping them to bring back some who have drifted away and to be open to others in the community who may not have a church home. Lutheran pastors are called to preach the word and administer the Sacraments. That’s at the heart of it, but there’s lots more to be done.”
Keck told the Times-News that while the job consists of too many challenges “to name,” he enjoys the community aspect of pastoring a church, spending time with members during moments of sickness and other trials.
“Folks say I’m a good visitor,” he said.
However, ministry wasn’t Keck’s first specialty. At age nine, he sold newspapers for three months from the steps of the Lincoln County courthouse just to purchase a baseball glove.
“Like most folks back in the 1940s, we didn’t have much money, and my dad helped me find a job,” he said.
“No matter how many I sold or didn’t sell, the good folks at the paper gave me .25 cents.”
While Keck believed God called him to the ministry, he said it was also a family trade that stemmed back three generations including his father, Dr. Albert H. Keck, Jr., former pastor of Lincolnton’s Emmanuel Lutheran Church, along with both his grandfathers and a great grandfather.
Since being ordained in 1964, Keck has pastored numerous churches including one each in Southern Pines, Salisbury, Troutman and Hamlet, among others. He also once served as the campus pastor at Appalachian State University in Boone.
Currently, Keck said he’s still an official member of Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church in Kannapolis.
Due to his older age, 74, he said there’s no possibility for him to become more than the Lincoln County church’s interim pastor. However, every six months Salem’s Congregation Council plans to renew Keck’s contract, he said.
When the grandfather of five isn’t standing behind the pulpit, he enjoys tennis, traveling, reading and spending time with his family.
Keck and his wife, Diana, reside in Mooresville.