Member Spotlight: Richard Bush

Adapted from a conversation between Richard Bush and Interim Pastor Anne Apple.

How did you come to know God — or come to faith?

The reality is I prayed all the time when I was a kid — I didn’t get much relief, but I asked for God’s help a lot as a kid. I was an Altar Boy before they found out I wasn’t Catholic. I used to bicycle down to St. Cecelia’s — the Parish Church — and serve with Monseigneur Corevy — until that time I cut the tip of his finger off when we were preparing palms for Palm Sunday and the Church secretary said, “That Altar Boy Bush who cut off the tip of your finger, he’s not Catholic.”

How long have you been at First Pres, and what brought you here?

I came to First Presbyterian Church to bring my children to church. I dropped them off for Sunday School like my mother did with me in Clearwater where I learned to walk into every church and synagogue and introduce myself with my sister.

What parts of your journey at First Pres and/or generally in faith have been formative?

My Baptism on Christmas Eve when one of the Hoekman boys was an infant. A man who appeared to be unhoused walked into the church and I was standing at the font with Brant. Brant waved at him and brought him in. The man asked, “What’s going on?” Brant asked, “What’s your name?” The man said, “My name is Guy.” And he said, “Oh, a baptism” — and he went and sat down with Carla and Tim. Afterwards we all went out to look for him and he was not to be seen. As far as I’m concerned, it was Jesus in a man named Guy who came into the church off the streets. It taught me that I should look for Jesus in every man, woman and child that I saw.

When our house burned down, Margaret showed up with four cups of coffee and a bunch of bananas from Whole Foods — and she prayed with us, “Lord, watch over them.” And when we rebuilt, she came back and blessed it — hallowed ground, indeed.

What parts of life at First Pres bring you joy?

What I love is being with the people. Being a Youth Group leader and meeting up with those youth who are now adults — and we do fun stuff together. Grant Hodges came over the other day and we put a generator together in the heat.