Word of the Week: Pastor is ‘checking out’

Pastor Joe Gale, Calvary Chapel Fernley

Well, I haven’t posted for a while, since 10 February, to be exact. It was around there my best friend and Fernley Icon, ‘Charter’ lost his battle with cancer and I went into a period of mourning and came out of it in a period of amazing transition.

Let me walk this backward. On, Sunday, 15 April, I notified the Fellowship of Calvary Chapel of what I notified the leadership previously. On 26 February 2018, my wife, Vicki, and I submitted applications to serve on MV Africa Mercy as a part of Mercy Ship Ministries and we would be relocating to living on the ship as it serves the countries of West Central and Sub-Sahara Africa. My resignation became effective on, Easter Sunday, 01 April and I will complete my time as pastor of CCF and in Fernley in late June of this year.

What a wonderful 22 years it has been. When we arrived in Fernley, FHS had just made the jump to AAA and the Quad was being enclosed. The Golf Course was surveyor stakes and a dream. Scolari’s had just taken over Warehouse Market in a strip mall that is only a memory. The gas pumps at the Silverado were on the south side. Fernley was a lot different here then. So was I; I had black hair and the ink on my military retirement barely dry. I retired from the U.S. Coast Guard the day before I became pastor in the double wide on Fremont.

I watched the little town come together for the first canal breach 20 years ago when most of the impact was alfalfa fields that would be subdivisions when the city came together for the next, and prayerfully the last canal breach. I experienced the month of ‘white death’ pogonip. Watched Stanley Tool works be built and saw it transformed into I listened to the constant rumors of ‘a Walmart’ until the day I shopped in ours. It has been amazing to live and serve here for over two decades.

During those two decades, I helped establish the Crisis Pregnancy Center, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Chaplain Program, the Nevada Veteran’s Coalition and the Bi-Annual Calvary Chapel ‘Meet the Candidates Night’ and established a format for political debates that has been copied throughout the county. The next ‘Meet the Candidates Night’ will be on Tuesday, 08 May, before early voting for the primaries. Specifically, for our Mayor and City Council, Ward One and hopefully the County Sheriff’s candidates.

What is next for us? Well we are excited to leave one last gift to Fernley. “Know Limits Math and Science Camp”, the dream and brain child of my wife, Vicki, or Ms. Gale to thousands of Fernley 8th Graders.  ‘Know Limits’ will be held on the four Sundays in May from 2–5 p.m. at our campus on Fremont Lane. In this first year it is limited to the first 50 children, grades 1-8, that sign up. We will take an overflow list.  It is NOT VBS. It is based more on UNR’s Math and Science Camp but with a greater focus on a Biblical theme. If you have always wanted your children to hear a different explanation for issues concerning science than what they hear in public school so they can make up their own mind, call (775) 575-2534 and sign them up soon. Leave a message and the registrar will return your call soon.

Also, what is next for ‘Joe and Vicki’? Vicki will be the principal for MV Africa Mercy’s on board school, The Mercy Academy. If that sounds strange, for a ship to have a school, look up Mercy Ship Ministries at, or go on YouTube and search for “Mercy Ships”. But be prepared to spend some time. Watching those posts is like eating potato chips, you just won’t be able to stop at one. I will be leaving vocational ministry and will be the Africa Mercy’s Medical Inventory Comptroller. I had a past before becoming a pastor.

What is next for Calvary Chapel? CCF’s Leadership called a wonderful young man named Sean who will serve as Interim Pastor starting on Friday, 01 June 2018 until a permanent pastor is called. So changes, wonderful changes are coming to Calvary Chapel.

In closing, what can I say about Fernley? I have always said that Fernley was very much like ‘The Hotel California’ from the Eagles song, ‘You can check out any time you’d like, but, you can never leave.’  Fernley took us into her heart 22 years ago and over the years we have taken her into ours. While born in Philadelphia and South Jersey, we are Nevadans now. We will ‘check out’ sometime in June, but we will never leave.

By the way, you can help us in our transition. All volunteers on the Africa Mercy do not receive a salary and pay all of their expenses to serve aboard, including room and board, so we are having our first of two, ‘We Are Moving To Africa, Really Africa’ Yard Sales on Saturday, 28 April, at our home on 260 Flint Street, by the Senior Center from 8 until everything is sold. Stop by and help us fund our transition. Also, I am selling my really cool Ram Truck.

Stop by Calvary any of the next four Sundays at 9:45 a.m. to say goodbye even if we have never met.

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