After driving from West Texas to McKinney in the spring of 2002, Chris Rickwartz circled the block a few times and then parked at First United Methodist Church. When he walked into the church parlor for the job interview, he met a dozen people seated around tables in a U-shape. With an easy smile and an authentic, honest way of talking about his life, faith, and love for Jesus, Chris soon became our director of youth ministries. In the 19 years since, it is impossible to count the students, parents, church members, and people in the world blessed by the gifts and heart Chris brings to ministry.
Our church stepped forward in faith together with Chris. After thousands of miles and hours of teaching, fellowship, worship, adventure, and mission, we give thanks that Chris’s journey intersected with ours. Now he moves to a new appointment at Asbury UMC in Denton with his wife Amy and their daughters Sophia and Lily, all beloved members of our church family. With joy we watched their family grow and they hold our hearts. We send our love, support, and prayers as they step forward in faith together.
Chris is still that sincere pastor I met 19 years ago at the U-shaped tables in the parlor. He serves with grace, applying his strong intellect and theological depth thoughtfully with compassion, humility, and a good dose of humor. For me, like so many others, Chris has become a dear friend. While we will miss Chris in so many ways, we know that he is faithfully following God’s call. As the Church, we all remain connected in the love of Jesus.
To our dear, dear Rickwartz family, God bless you. You have blessed us! We cherish the wonderful times shared in life and ministry. We laugh at the memories of fun and mischief (many stories could be inserted here!). And because we trust the God of love who holds the future, we anticipate with an easy smile what the next 19 years will bring.
Rev. Patty Froehlich