When I first starting working for BelPres in 2003, volunteer after volunteer shared with me how much the church had progressed over the years. Dr. Richard Leon was always a part of that conversation. They would recall how Dick was always interested in the details—from microphone choices, cues and even in his style of preaching. All stories which told of a man who was an honorable and commendable leader.
I first met Dr. Leon at the 50-Year Jubilee Celebration in 2005. It was a big event with many moving parts and details that had to be just right in order for the services to be successful. Everyone was excited, and what an occasion it was! Foremost in my mind was how this huge event would give our current and former pastors a glimpse of really how much God has worked in this community through and beyond their leadership.
Although, at the time, Dick may not have known it, I owed my current position to his leadership. After a time of struggle in Los Angeles working at a professional recording studio, God clearly let me know, “I have something different for you; all you have to do is follow.” God is so amazing. He is always at work. Little did I know, years earlier First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue had broken ground on a brand new Sanctuary, and one day would have an increase in AV needs. That is where my story intersected with the BelPres story.
In a Legacy Foundation video, Dr. Leon shared this quote: “Mature stewardship has to do with planting trees, under whose shade we may never sit.” Dr. Leon was fortunate to see a glimpse of the shade his leadership provided. God still has so much more for BelPres to further His Kingdom, and with good and faithful servants like Dr. Leon, may it be so. I am honored to say that I am currently sitting in the shade of trees planted by Dr. Leon, by offering his life to be formed, changed, and led by our Lord Jesus Christ. The stewardship of Dr. Leon’s heart has been a large part of the 50-year story of BelPres, and his legacy has touched countless lives and will continue beyond.