Pastor Richard W. Neal
The Rev. Richard W. Neal serves Good Shepherd as transition pastor. He comes with nearly forty years of experience in parish ministry, including positions as an intentional interim minister in United Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ congregations. A graduate of Drew University Theological School, Pastor Rich has received specialized training with the Interim Ministry Network and has served congregations in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.
When asked to describe his ministry, Pastor Rich compares it to assembling pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, surveying the array of life experiences that come before us daily, trying to discern how they fit together, and then asking: What piece is not here? What’s the missing piece that would make the whole picture snap into clarity? That piece is not really missing, he says; we just don’t see it. Yet the missing piece is the one that makes life whole. Discovering the missing piece and finding its fit is the essence of his ministry.
Pastor Rich is a native of Southeast Missouri. Before entering seminary, he pursued careers in commercial printing and scholarly publishing, working as a book designer and production director for two major university presses. He has also been a partner in a mediation practice. He enjoys typography and graphic design, writing, reading (especially essays and poetry), spending time outdoors, and making home with his wife Sheryl and their three dogs, Logan, Gracie, and Oliver. Sheryl, a native of Cheektowaga, completed her undergraduate studies at UB and holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Albany, specializing in geriatrics. She has worked with the elderly, children, families, the homeless, and persons with a variety of disabilities and mental health needs. For eleven years she has served as director of social work at Beechwood Continuing Care. She is a strong advocate for those most in need.