The North Bend Eagle

UPC installation
With choir members looking on, church council clerk Wendi Emanuel gives
Rev. Neal Allen a hug after his installation.

Allen's installation a first for denomination

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 9/19/12

The Rev. S. Neal Allen was installed Sunday as the pastor at North Bend’s United Presbyterian Church. It was the first such installation of a former interim minister in Homestead Presbytery, which the North Bend church belongs to, and may have been the first in the denomination.

Allen has served the local church since Aug. 2010 as interim minister. The denomination (Presbyterian Church USA) passed an amendment to its constitution in July 2012 that would allow an interim pastor to become the next installed pastor. Previously, this had not been allowed by PCUSA.

Led by the Pastor Nominating Committee, and after many weeks of discussion and intense prayer, the congregation issued a call for Allen to be their next pastor and he accepted the call.

The Sept. 16 installation, with the participation of five ministers and five elders and deacons from area churches, made it official.

Though a first for the Presbyterian church, Allen’s crossing from interim to stated pastor is not the first in North Bend. The Rev. Calvin L’Heureux of St. Peter Lutheran Church in North Bend served as interim minister for St. Peter before being called to be the installed minister in July 2010.

“It not common, but it does happen,” L’Heureux said about the status change in the Lutheran church.

He said that when trained as an interim, they are told that the transfer to stated pastor doesn’t happen. L’Heureux thinks his changing title might be the first one inthe Nebraska district.

Allen’s trip to the North Bend church is not the usual route. He grew up in a military family and joined the Army, serving a year in Vietnam in 1970-71. He graduated from Dubuque Seminary in 1987 and served as an installed minister in churches for over 20 years before starting to serve as an interim in 2007.

“I enjoyed interim work,” Allen said, “but after weeks of discussion and intense prayer, I am convinced that God want me here (in North Bend).”

Allen lives in Clarkson where his wife is the minister at the New Zion Presbyterian Church. They have two adult sons and one grandson. He is active in the American Legion, VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America and an organization of war veteran ministers who seek to bring healing to veterans. He has participated in Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day activities in North Bend.

“I have been in North Bend for almost three years and am enjoying getting to know the wonderful people in the congregation and in the community,” Allen said. “I am very impressed with the school system here in North Bend. Educating our children is an effort of the entire community and an investment in the future of our nation. You should take pride in our schools, the teachers and administration, and the school board.”

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