Dr. Pat Day remembers his first service at First United Methodist Church like it was yesterday. And he says the love he received from his congregation at the downtown Shreveport church Sunday was something else he'll never forget.

Day, who came to FUMC in 1993, announced his retirement earlier this year. His final services at First United Methodist will be Christmas Eve at 5:30 and 7:30pm.

"I thought I could keep it all together," said the youthful 72-year-old, referring to his emotional Sunday service. "But I was wrong. I think I cried through the entire thing."

He said the part of the day he enjoyed the most was video commemorating his nearly three decades as pastor. "They really know me," he said with a chuckle.

Retirement for the always-on-the-go cleric won't involve the typical golf or rocking chair. Day, a native of the small, east Texas town of Elkhart, plans to take about a month off and then get back to work.

The pastor and his wife will head back to those Texas roots and live at his working ranch near his hometown. He plans to pursue an already thriving public speaking career and use his experience at FUMC to help other churches as a consultant and coach for church pastors.

Dr. Day will be replaced at First United Methodist by Dr. Steven Bell, most recently with First United Methodist Church of Corsicana, Texas.

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