Keith Brown becomes Pastor Emeritus

Click to hear Rev. Keith Brown honored as FPCB’s first Pastor Emeritus, in a special ceremony during the June 24, 2018 worship service. Speakers include Pastor J.C. Austin, Session member Gail Watts, and Keith.

Rev. Keith Brown thanks the congregation after being honored as the first Pastor Emeritus in the history of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem. Pastor J.C. Austin and Session member Gail Watts, participated in the ceremony at the June 24, 2018, worship service.
Photos by Sophia Pedroso.

Pastor J.C. Austin quoted from the Letter to the Ephesians to point out that Keith had certainly lived “a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”

“We celebrate you, we rejoice in you, we give thanks to God for you, through this recognition,” Pastor Austin said in a moving testament to the impact Keith has had on the congregation, church, and denomination.

Session member Gail Watts presented Keith with a certificate reading: “With deep gratitude, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem bestows the honored title of Pastor Emeritus to the Reverend Keith Brown, for his exemplary leadership, steadfast love, and care as he served this congregation for 31 years, modeling God’s grace, humility, and word, well done, good and faithful servant. Much love to you and Carole.”

Keith tearfully accepted the honor, and in remarks quickly displayed the humor that characterized his preaching, by opening with how delighted he was to look up pastor emeritus in the Oxford Dictionary and learn that it meant “recognition to a retired pastor who is a great athlete, highly, highly intelligent, and very good looking.”

He acknowledged the support of his wife, Carole, who, to the congregation’s delight, arose from her seat in a front pew, turned, waved, and gracefully held her arms aloft to form the shape of a heart.

Keith reacts to the congregation’s standing ovation following his recognition as Pastor Emeritus. Below, he delivers remarks.
Photos by Wendy Dennison Magocs

The Rev. Don Hackett, and his wife, Rila (pictured above), and the Rev. Dr. Sue Pizor Yoder, were among the former FPCB pastoral staff who returned for the ceremony honoring Keith Brown as Pastor Emeritus. Former director of music, Greg Funfgeld, and his wife, Nanci, were also in attendance. Below, a Kirk Center reception for Keith provided opportunities for many hugs and selfies, including one with photographer Jeni Lynn Fischel-Toner.
Photos by Jeni Lynn Fischel-Toner


Photo by Sophia Pedroso

The Praise Band performs with members of the Chancel Choir. Below, images of the presentation, a portrait of Carole and Keith at the reception, and the reception gathering. Photos by Sophia Pedroso





  1. Reply
    Molly Brown says

    Yay dad! I can say as your daughter that you practice what you preach. Much love. Thanks FPC!

  2. Reply
    John and Dorothy Larson says

    We were blessed to serve as elder and trustee under Keith’s ministry. We are grateful for the 12 years we were members of FPC

  3. Reply
    Deb and Ed Gibbs says

    So wonderful to see Keith and Carole looking so good!

  4. Reply
    Debbie Stahlman Thompson says

    Keith was my youth pastor in the sixties at Memorial Park Presbyterian Church. He came to your church in 1969 when I was a senior. Missed he and Carole so much. He is a blessing to so many.

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