Dr. Robert (Bobby) Hulme-Lippert, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Georgetown, since November 2019, announced to a called Session meeting on June 20 that he is resigning as the 38th pastor of the
church, with his last day being Sunday, July 16. Pastor Bobby tearfully read a letter of resignation to the elders, informing them that he is not only leaving FPC, but also that God is calling him out of congregational ministry altogether.
Bobby had called the Session meeting to discuss significant matters of importance to the life of the congregation that could not wait until the regularly scheduled stated meeting on June 27. Also attending the Session meeting was Dr. Bill Pederson, pastor of San Gabriel Presbyterian Church, who serves on Mission Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry. An email with Bobby’s letter of resignation was sent immediately to the congregation following the Session meeting.
During the meeting, Bill explained that a called congregational meeting was needed to dissolve the church’s pastoral relationship with Bobby as the process begins to seek a new pastor. Session then approved a motion for that meeting to occur on Sunday, July 2, following the 10 a.m. worship service. A quorum of 57 members must be present in person or attending that meeting by Zoom to conduct business.
FPC’s congregation called Bobby, then 37 years old, as pastor on Sunday, October 6, 2019, something that had not been done in 30 years as he succeeded Dr. Michael A. Roberts, who retired after serving from 1988 to 2018. Bobby was the unanimous choice of the Pastor Nominating Committee, chaired by Karen Rayburn, whose members were approved at a congregational meeting on August 12, 2018.
Bobby was formally installed as pastor on Sunday, March 1, 2020, two weeks before the Williamson County judge’s declaration of a local state of disaster and imposing an eight-week ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people. On March 17, FPC’s Session voted to suspend all activities—including worship, Sunday School and choir rehearsals—to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. The day before the Sunday service on March 15, Session voted to cancel in-person worship and instead played a recorded sermon from the Sanctuary by Dr. Tom Currie, who was scheduled to preach that day. Thus began the church’s experience, under Bobby’s leadership, navigating the COVID pandemic and taking
measures to equip the Worship Center/Fellowship Hall to have the capability of live-streaming services.
On June 20, Bobby told the elders that God was calling him into “a new understanding of how I lived into my call as pastor. Eventually, however, it became clear that God was calling me entirely out of congregational ministry. Where? Admittedly, I do not know precisely where God is leading me next. I feel like Abram on the cusp of stepping toward a very real promise, even as the precise contours of that promise are vague. Broadly, I recognize God calling me to speak and write in ways that minister beyond the walls of the church. I also recognize God calling me to a deeper intentionality with my own family, particularly in this season when the boys are young.”
A reception for Pastor Bobby will be held in the Gathering Place on Sunday, July 16, directly following the worship service.