I can tell you now that I may run out of space while telling you all you need to know about Rev. Norm O’Banyon, this month’s Secret Servant. But a quote from his wife, Kathy, sums him up pretty well, “He’s the most wonderful man in the world!” Now that’s a supportive spouse! They seem hand in glove and Norm makes it clear that they are a team in everything.
Born in Nebraska and introduced to the Lord by his Oregonian Mennonite grandmother, Norm served as a Methodist clergyman for 35 years prior to retiring. The O’Banyons have attended BelPres for 10 years. Just like Lois Cook (January’s Secret Servant), they sit center aisle, row four, and fondly refer to their seats as “the ’hood.” They’ve hosted brunch for their surrounding seatmates at BelPres over 24 times and there’s no sign of stopping. Norm believes his mission at BelPres is to promote community and intimacy amongst the congregation, a task that takes courage and persistence in a mega church environment.
Have you ever read the beautiful Prayers for the Church Family in your bulletin? Well, Norm is the guy who writes those. He prepares these prayers by looking at what’s going on in the Church calendar and earmarking scriptures that complement. This way the different traditions within the church are addressed in a meaningful way, like Advent, Lent, and so on. Norm enjoys writing and has also used that gift to create Journey through Grief, a four-volume care card ministry sent to those who have lost loved ones.
Norm has been in the puppet ministry, a small group leader, the homebound communion coordinator, a deacon, and a member of the beneficiary team for Auto Angels. He’s participated in the Eastside Academy and Jubilee REACH auctions, Men’s Retreat, Senior Fellowship, and as a Marriage Mentor. He’s been the skipper four times on British Virgin Island Yacht Charters. I asked him when he really plans to retire, and he said, “I’m full-time forever.”
Thanks for your exhaustive and cheerful service to all of us here at BelPres, Norm. We have to agree with Kathy, you really are the most wonderful man in the world!