Pastor retiring 50 years after starting church

January 23, 2001

Pastor retiring 50 years after starting church

By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Rev. Robert TimmonsCLEAR SPRING, Md. - After a half century of serving one congregation, the Rev. Robert Timmons isn't going to let a little snow dampen his departure.

"There was a special service planned for this past Sunday but the snow forced a postponement until this coming Sunday," Timmons said from his office at Colonial Sales in Mercersburg, Pa.

After all, what's a week when you've been serving God and your congregation since January 1951.

Timmons, now 71, described his introduction into the ministry as being no less than miraculous.

In 1948, Timmons recalled, just after the birth of his son, Robert Jr., his wife, Mae, was recovering in the hospital.


Rushing to the hospital, Timmons learned his wife had slipped into a coma and wasn't expected to survive.

Describing himself as not very religious back then, Timmons nonetheless sought out a minister who asked him to join him in prayer.

When he began to pray, Timmons said he felt the sensation of warm water pouring over him. Even before he called the hospital and learned his wife had come out of the coma, Timmons said, he knew that God had brought a miracle into their lives.

Within a year, Timmons felt called to start a church and he did, with just two people meeting in a storefront in Clear Spring.

That inauspicious beginning heralded greater things and after two more moves, the congregation known as Mount Calvary Church of God located atop a picturesque hill west of Clear Spring in 1972.

For most of his years leading Mount Calvary, Timmons also worked six days a week at Colonial Sales, a small grocery/auction house business he started 32 years ago.

"This was an old sewing factory back in 1968," Timmons said. A friend, Ben Thomas, put up the money to buy the business and Timmons turned it into a winning endeavor.

From furniture to food to tools, people come from all around for the bargains and good company, Timmons said.

He and his wife continue to live in Clear Spring.

A new minister will fill the Mount Calvary pulpit but Timmons will continue to serve the small country church as pastor emeritus.

"I'm retired from the church but not from the ministry," Timmons said. "I continue to make hospital and nursing home calls in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia."

Though past traditional retirement age, Timmons said he averages more than 200 such calls a month, no matter the weather.

"I like to say I'm not retired, I'm refired," Timmons said.

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