help Back to Cornwall
Farewell Party for Peter Hammond, July 20, 2002


In Recognition of Twenty Years of Service
July 20, 2002

Hail the reverend, who in spacious office digs,
with view sublime of tree roots, gravel, grass, and twigs,
who there for twenty years composed his Sabbath sermon --
that is, when he didn't have to clear the mousetraps of their vermin.
His years of seminary studies he relied upon
to fix the copier, computer, or to plunge the john.
And often while he cleaned the dehumidifier,
his beeper squawked -- and off he'd go to fight a fire.
For he, like any good courageous pastor,
responded well with promptness to disaster.
He's there to comfort and his aid bestow --
Sing Ho for Peter Hammond, HO! Sing HO! Sing HO!

His was indeed a ministry of interroptions
as Peter wrestled with his various options.
For as he pondered matters hermeneutical
(that's Bible study for us common folk),
someone came for comfort therapeutical,
or simply ambled in to share a joke.
In office visits, in the village, at the dump,
he counseled folks who might be in a slump.
Concerned about the various folks in need,
he'd find a way to help, to intercede --
and one strong favorite cause espousing --
how to get our Cornwall folks more housing.

Yes, all were welcome in the church's bounds --
in pews, the parish house, the grounds --
the special groups with special needs
various doers with their various deeds --
and, finally, with a minimum of squirming,
the church was guided then to be
(all credit to the UCC)
both "open and affirming."
With him the church did surely grow --
Sing Ho for Peter! HO! Sing HO! Sing HO!

For --
he married folks, and baptized them, gave elegies memorial --
took youth group off to bowling, or conducted a tutorial.
With knowledge and with research he is often professorial.
He's helpful and he's caring, and he's never dictatorial.
What? Never? Well -- hardly ever!

He often served as one of many village-meeting moderators
and guided us in dealing with those many civic hot potaters.
With tact and patient fortitude, through weary weals and woes,
he walked his talk, and didn't stalk on too many tender toes.
Though all that kind of stress and strain can drive a man bananas --
yet never was he lacking in his ministerial manners!
What? Never? Well -- hardly ever!

Sing Ho for worthy preacher clear, for teacher and for reverend --
for someone we've been glad to have as counselor and worthy friend.
For all these many twenty years we've never seen him sinister --
he is the very model of a UCCC minister!

So from all of us, let our voices show
that this is a man we're proud to know --
Sing Ho for Peter Hammond, HO! Sing HO! Sing HO! Sing HO!

Ken Keskinen

pictures by Lazlo