Fluvanna Faces – George Gorman

By Page H. Gifford

 Have you been a pastor most of your life?

 I was in the military for four years and the business world for 26 years and I am in my 22nd year of pastoral ministry. I was 52 when I answered the call.

 What else have you done in your life that you consider a milestone?
One of the most important things was becoming a grandfather fourteen years ago and then welcoming two more grandchildren for a total of three.

Where were you from originally? And what is the most memorable place
you lived in and why?

I was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where my father was stationed, the first of many places, as I enjoyed life as an Army brat. I consider the most memorable place to be Palmyra, because I love the two churches that I pastor, Palmyra United Methodist Church and Haden Chapel United Methodist Church. Not to mention, this is a beautiful part of the country and we can’t say enough about the people here. Therefore we have decided to make our home in this part of the country in Charlottesville when I finally retire the end of June, 2022.

Who are the most important people in your life?

The most important people in my life are of course my family and Rita (my wife) and I have a special part of our hearts reserved for our three grandchildren.  And in addition our church families are very important to us.

What are your three favorite books and why?

I supposed most people say this, but on the top of my list is the Bible. It is a book I am engaged with on a regular basis and one in which I find great comfort and hope. After the Bible, for entertainment I love to read suspense novels, or these days I am enjoying listening to audio books via blue tooth.

What are your three favorite movies and why?

I am not much of a movie goer but since a kid I have always been enthralled with “Swiss Family Robinson.”  I loved the adventure and creativity of that movie, even though it is perhaps a little far-fetched.  “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Jimmy Stewart is high on my list.   And in a different genre, I thoroughly enjoyed “Black Panther.”

What is the one place you’ve never been to but would like to visit
and why?

I have thought how neat it would be to visit all the different places I have lived through the years, but that said, I will be very content to enjoy our retirement in our home in downtown Charlottesville, and walk wherever I want, to drink a cup of coffee from one of the many coffee venues, read a book and enjoy the ebb and the flow of life.

 If you were stranded on a dessert island who are the three people you
would want with you?

The obvious answer is the people who love you the most and that is family. But exclusive of family, I want to be there with Tim and Jorja Stark, as long as they have their instruments, and play music. We have a little trio called “MTA,” (Music through the Ages, covering music from the ‘20s through the ‘70s), made up of my accordion, Tim’s ukuleles, and Jorja’s snare drum, as we have fun making music together. Maybe you will see us on the downtown mall.

Which two historical figures would you like to have dinner with?

I don’t know if I could eat in his presence, but wow, how special it would be to share a meal with Jesus. The other figure would be St. John Bosco, who founded the Salesian Order of priests and brothers. I think they have over 30,000 members around the world totally devoted to children of all ages, through education, shelter, and medical care. They do phenomenal work.

If you had to pick one person you would like to meet today, who
would it be?

I know this is going to sound strange, but I don’t much care about meeting one particular person, famous or not. I would just as soon make friends with a perfect stranger, just ordinary folks.

How do you view the role of the church in our current society?

I think churches should reach out first of all to their local community and then the broader community.  I think churches should be a beacon of hope in the midst of the challenges of life. And I think churches should stay above the fray and be a place where all, without any exception whatsoever, are welcome.

What was the one thing you learned from living through this pandemic?

Wow!  This pandemic has by far provided me with my greatest challenge as a pastor. It has been very difficult and at times very lonely, but thanks to the endless support of my congregations and their continued dedication to mission and ministry, we wake each day to serve God, as we see the light at the end of the tunnel. I would say that I have especially learned that in spite of suffering most human beings care about their neighbors and most human beings want to live righteous lives.

What do you do to relieve stress?

I guess in addition to playing my accordion and embracing books, my greatest stress reliever has become my workouts at the Spectrum Fitness Center, where I get that free and legal drug called dopamine.  And quite honestly, I see a counselor on a regular basis, which has helped immensely. I highly recommend it for all human beings.

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