I don't want to ignore Rev. Hicks, who came after Rev. Berryhill did his interim for the period between Rev. Hatch's death and Rev. Hick's arrival. I did mention him in my post-Pray-ers. Rev. Hicks formed my teen and young adult years as much as Rev. Hatch influenced my young years and also taught my communicants class. I joined the church under Rev. Hatch, while my dad, the greatest former of my Christian life was in the hospital. That is another story.
Rev. Hicks and his wife and three teenage children arrived in W. Middlesex from Aliquippa, PA. When I first heard he was coming before I knew his name, I had hoped it was Rev. Lightbody, as he was from Aliquippa and had three teenage children, about the same age and sexes. Lightbody's were the family I fell in love with my last year at camp. No disappointment for me, though. John, his son proved to be a great friend and that was better than any romantic entanglement.
Rev. Hicks performed our wedding, along with Rev. Ray Lyon. He also baptized both of my girls. He drove my mother to Cleveland Clinic once a week to see my dad, who had leukemia at that time. I rode along once with Katie, a babe in arms. The stories do overlap as life does, too. Rev. Hicks also a neighbor, I graduated with his son from high school. Dad couldn't keep up with his lawn mowing, "Oh, John's at it again!" Rev. Hicks, a small man, loved sports to play and watch. He described himself as a conservative man, and labeled Rev. Hatch as moderate, commending the church on accepting different styles. A quiet man, yet also showed a passion growing in his later years. He did the Presbyterian altar call every Sunday, always making sure we knew it was relationship with Jesus, not being a member of a church, "If you're not sure, come talk to me in my office."
Rev. Hicks visited often when you were sick, either in hospital or at home, as well as when you weren't sick. Often, I came home for lunch when I started home care, finding Rev. Hicks talking to David on our couch. He visited in our home when Katie was to be baptized. He explained why Presbyterians believed in infant baptism and the symbolism to circumcision. He also told me the greatest privilege a parent can have is to lead their children to Christ, with illustrations of when his children came to Jesus.
My mother became so embarrassed after Rev. Hicks visited Dan, who told him he was not going to go to church. Rev. Hicks comforted her, by saying, "I'd rather have people be honest with me than tell me lies." He is such a comforting man. He helped me when I had some problems and in his quiet way encouraged me. He understood after my father died and I was alone at church with two little girls why I had to go to another church. No one knows how hard that was, but I know God led me to where I am now. Rev. Hicks gave me his blessing. Plus his youngest son attended this church, too. The Sunday after he retired, he came to my new church and Pastor Ken acknowledged him from the pulpit.
You see to Rev. Hicks the important thing wasn't being a member of his church, it was your personal relationship with God.