Barnwell Presbyterian welcomes pastor, organist

  • Dudley Weaver started as Barnwell Presbyterian’s pastor on Jan. 1.
  • Rita Rostron is the new organist at Barnwell Presbyterian Church.

Barnwell Presbyterian Church recently welcomed a new pastor and organist.

Dr. J. Dudley Weaver Jr. began duties as pastor of Barnwell Presbyterian on Jan. 1 while Rita Rostron became the church’s organist last fall. Both said they are excited to be in Barnwell.

“It’s a wonderful group. I’m blessed to be here,” said Rostron, who moved to Aiken from Florida a year ago to be close to one of her five sons.

Weaver previously subbed one week at Barnwell Presbyterian and was touched by the friendliness of the people. He is now excited to be there on a permanent basis.

With the church being more than 150 years old, Barnwell Presbyterian is “part of the fabric of this community.” However, Weaver said, the church has had a difficult time the past two years as the church split.

“I look forward to leading them in rebuilding the congregation,” said Weaver. “I’m looking forward to seeing it filled with people,” including many children.

While the congregation is small at the moment, he believes the church will grow and rebound “for the glory of God and good of the kingdom” because the core group that is there is committed to the church’s survival. “There’s a vitality here that’s very appealing to me,” he said.

Weaver was ordained on Feb. 29, 1976 and retired from full-time ministry on Feb. 29, 2016. The Columbia native has pastored Presbyterian and Lutheran churches all over the country, including Hodges, Columbia and Charleston in South Carolina, as well as Savannah, Ga., Oregon, and St. Augustine, Fla.

Following his retirement, he and his wife returned to Columbia to be closer to family. He then started supply preaching for churches as needed, which led him to Barnwell.

As a lover of music and singing, Weaver said he “appreciates very much the role of music in liturgy.”

That’s where Rostron comes in. The military widow has been playing piano and organ most of her life, including many years in churches of various denominations across the country.

“It’s part of me,” she said of her musical ability. Her mother played the piano while her father sang.

Barnwell Presbyterian Church is located at 110 Franklin Street in Barnwell and holds services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. They will host the first Lenten service of 2018 on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, which includes a meal at noon followed by a short message at 12:30 p.m.

Contact Weaver at dudleyweaver@gmail.com. He also offers a daily audio devotion on his website, www.dudleyweaver.com.