Our pastor is Rev. Richard T. Lawrence, better known simply as Dick. He looks something like Santa Claus, only Santa is actually a little thinner. He’s been here at St. V’s since 1973. He’s a fifth-generation Baltimorean and a graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary here in Baltimore, with other degrees from Loyola College (now known as Loyola University Maryland) and the Catholic University of America.
Dick is pretty well-versed in scripture, having studied under Ray Brown and Addison Wright, and can be counted upon in his homilies to open up the Word of God. He can be pretty opinionated and challenging in his homilies, but he doesn’t insist or even expect that everyone will agree with him: He encourages people to learn and think for themselves.
He enjoys leading the community in worship, and it shows. He is also very comfortable with being surrounded by a large number of lay ministers. In fact, laypeople do a lot of things here at St. V’s that they are not encouraged to do in some other parishes. Though he tries to maintain a certain amount of dignity in worship, he has often said, “If you can’t have fun in your Father’s house, where can you?”
He has been active in social justice ministries all his life, starting with the Civil Rights movement in the 60’s and the Peace movement in the 70’s, and has been today one of the leaders in the Inclusive Housing movement.
Dick believes in lay leadership, and has insisted that the Parish Council and the Pastor together are the decision-making team for St. Vincent. Some folks nonetheless find him a bit intimidating, but we have learned that if you push back he’ll wrestle with the issue with you until a consensus emerges.
Dick reached retirement age in December 2012, but the Archbishop has asked him to stay on year to year. For all his faults, at which we have only hinted here, we basically like him because he encourages us to plan, organize, and do ministry of all sorts.