To the editor: We don’t say “Thank you” enough. I am writing to thank Rev. Dr. Tom Richard for his faithful service to First Congregational Church, to the Nantucket United Methodist Church and to our community over the last five decades.
Tom is the 46th minister to serve First Congregational Church, following the first (Rev. Timothy White -1725) and his father, Rev. Clayton Richard (the 40th minister) who served from 1952 to 1957.
In 2001, after serving our church for fifteen years, Rev. Richard followed a calling to head up the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, which entailed a move to Wisconsin. He returned to the island after serving for over a decade to what he thought was retirement. But he failed retirement. In 2020 he accepted the position as Senior Minister at the Methodist Church, where he served until his recent retirement.
When our Senior Minister, Rev. Gary Klingsporn retired in early 2022 Tom provided “adjunct” support to our congregation by leading services for us at our church and at the Methodist church. In the last two months he has again stood in to lead us in worship prior to the arrival of our Interim Ministers this week.
Last Sunday Tom delivered what might turn out to be his last sermon, as he has now retired “in full”. He led us with the help of his grandson, Tucker Brannigan, who read the New Testament lesson.
What you might not know about Tom is that he has been a true leader in our community. In 2001, just before he departed for Wisconsin, he called a meeting to recruit his twelve “affordable housing disciples”. Long before it was in vogue, Tom Richard recognized the budding housing problem on Nantucket. My wife Linda and I were in that meeting and Habitat for Humanity Nantucket was the result.
Tom Richard is slight in stature but he is a great man, an inspiring community leader, a thoughtful and compassionate speaker, a loving father and grandfather. Nantucket should be thankful and proud of his service.
I close with two thoughts. The first from me … “Thank you Tom”. The second from the Gospel of Mathew: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”