With thoughtful words and lots of hugs, and with enormous thanksgiving for his leadership and service, the Rev. Henry Penner, deacon at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Keller, Texas, retired on January 14, 2018. He served as a deacon at St. Martin’s since his ordination on November 2, 2012.
Deacon Henry worked his last weekend, and was our preacher as we gathered for our three weekend services. In his sermon he shared his thoughts on the past and the future, and assured us he’ll be around, attending with his family, helping when he can. Be sure to listen to his sermon.
The Rev. Scot McComas, St. Martin’s rector, praised Henry for a job well done and thanked him at a well-attended reception after worship. Henry spoke with great love in his heart and gratitude toward all his friends in our church community for the opportunity to serve.
There were many treasured moments of fellowship at the reception as tales of Henry, his wife Rhonda, and daughter Liz’s service at St. Martin’s were shared. Henry and Rhonda have been members of St. Martin’s since 1992, long before Henry accepted God’s call to ordained ministry. Henry, Rhonda and Liz served in many ways in worship over decades, and Rhonda served St. Martin’s as office administrator. As a child, Liz became our youngest acolyte at the time her service began. Henry also served as Senior Warden.
As our deacon, Henry taught classes, made hospital visits and assisted with our outreach efforts in addition to his visible roles in worship: preaching, reading the Gospel, serving at the Lord’s Table. He often sent us forth with the dismissal, “Friends, our worship has ended and now our service begins.”
In our diocese, Henry served on various committees and worked with those discerning a call to ministry. He assisted in the startup of the 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry, an initiative supported by our Deanery. In 2017, he retired from a long career as an insurance producer/risk manager for Wortham Insurance in Fort Worth.
Henry and Rhonda enjoyed the photo book they received as a gift, capturing memories of his service at St. Martin’s and in the diocese. These photos were displayed on a TV in the parish hall for all to enjoy. You can enjoy these memories of Henry in this Flickr photo gallery; click the photo below and then swipe through.
As Henry settles into retirement, he will continue to serve as a hospital chaplain at Baylor Grapevine for a couple of days each week. We wish him well and we look forward to when we see him and his family at worship in a pew.
Click the photo below and then swipe through Flickr photos of worship and the reception.