BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Editor
A fruitful ministry is coming to an end in July.
Next month, the Reverend Richard (Rick) L. Dake will retire after 17 years as the lead pastor at Clarkston United Methodist Church.
Clarkston UMC was founded in 1841 and is one of Clarkston’s oldest and largest congregations.
Dake and his wife, Laura, are moving to Montrose, where Dake grew up, in retirement, and his final Sundays with the congregation are June 13 and June 20.
The church has learned that Bishop David Bard, Bishop of the Michigan Area of the United Methodist Church, has appointed Rev. Amy Mayo-Moyle as Dake’s successor, beginning July 1.
Rev. Megan Walther has served at Clarkston United Methodist Church since 2017, and she will continue to serve the congregation as it welcomes Rev. Mayo-Moyle
“It has been a privilege to serve with Rick Dake,” Walther said. “He is a talented preacher, teacher and vision caster, who loves the church and the Clarkston community. He has guided the church with humility and grace. Rick is always thinking about new opportunities to help people connect with one another and with God.”
Dake, who graduated from Adrian College and Duke University: The Divinity School with a Master’s of Divinity degree, came to Clarkston in 2004 after serving the Chelsea United Methodist Church for 12 years. Dake served churches in Ypsilanti and Onsted early in his ministry after graduating from Duke Divinity School in 1980.
“In each appointment, I walked alongside laity who taught me well, gave me authority before I earned it and grace when I struggled,” said Dake.
“I was blessed to have staffs who were partners in ministry. Together, we all grew, the church thrived, and most days were sacred fun. On days of challenge, God’s grace was more than sufficient. I am proud to have been part of a clergy session where we welcomed all who were called by Christ, without prejudice. I am proud to have played a part in breaking the glass ceiling of women as senior pastors of large churches.”
Dake noted he received his call to the ministry when he was just 16.
“I am grateful after that call I had the chance to work in service stations, restaurants, do security work and drive semi-trucks cross country before I entered ministry,” said Dake. “My love for church has always been mingled with a hunger to make faith applicable and real to everyday life. My heart longs to offer a Gospel that changes lives. Our witness should always bring peace and justice. As I was taught long ago, where the Gospel is there is health and where there is no health, there is no Gospel.
“The greatest fun I have in ministry is when I can preach, teach and help make a place where others can thrive in their faith. I am blessed with 36 years of marriage to my wife Laura. We are blessed with our two daughters, Emily, who lives outside of Chicago with her husband Martin and grandchildren Leah and Jasper, and Elizabeth, who lives in North Carolina with her husband Matt and granddaughters Alaina and Caroline. My passions outside of ministry include a variety of sports as an observer and a lover of golf and fly fishing.”
Dake has been pivotal in guiding Clarkston United Methodist Church to engage in service with the community. The church offers a monthly client-choice food pantry, a Little Free Pantry, and a Little Free Library. Clarkston UMC is known in the community for hosting an annual Trunk or Treat and Easter Egg Hunt.
For many years, Clarkston UMC has been part of the Clarkston history tour for second graders in Clarkston Community Schools, as well as serving as a starting point for the yearly “Walk to School” day for Clarkston Elementary.
This past December, the church placed more than 50 fully decorated Christmas trees in the front lawn as a sign of hope in the midst of the pandemic.
Dake also led the church through a massive building renovation, with the purpose of creating new space that could be used by the community. Since completing renovations in 2019, the church has provided space to programs like the Clarkston City Council, Clarkston High School’s “Real Talk,” Clarkston Chiefs cheerleaders, and Urban Vine, an all-natural product company that provides meaningful work for adults with special needs. Dake has also led the church in supporting the Clarkston Optimists, the Clarkston Area Youth Assistance, and programs for the Senior Center.
Dake has called the church to be “generous beyond our wildest imaginations,” and has led the congregation to embrace inclusion as a core value.
“My parents, Ralph and Audrey, supported me completely,” said Dake. “My brother Jim remains my best role model. I could not have made it this far or be able to take the steps forward without my wife Laura beside me. I continue to seek to make our daughters, Emily and Elizabeth, my sons-in-law, Martin and Matt and our grandchildren Leah, Alaina, Jasper and Caroline half as proud of me as I am of them. I am humbled to be so richly blessed. Thanks be to God.”