A father to 600 local Roman Catholic families was given a farewell luncheon on Father's Day in Parkersburg.
The Rev. Eric Hall, known as "Father Eric" to his parishioners in Parkersburg and Lubeck, received an emotional sendoff Sunday at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Parish Center on Market Street. The crowd of about 350 people gave Rev. Hall a standing ovation as he entered the center after the 10:30 a.m. Mass across the street.
Rev. Hall, who was pastor at St. Francis Xavier and St. Monica in Lubeck for four years, has been transferred to St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg, which has about 1,200 families in a growing area of the state.
Joe Conny, who led the cooking staff and spoke at the luncheon, noted Rev. Hall brought children from the local parishes together for Vacation Bible School, participated in construction and renovation work at St. Francis Xavier and brought his love of theater and music into the church.
Rev. Hall, who plays the guitar, released a CD titled "Intentionally His" in 2009. He acted in productions at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg, including the role of Dr. Evans in "On Borrowed Time."
Rev. Hall cared deeply about the families and children at the churches and tried to get to know everybody at St. Francis Xavier and St. Monica, said Michelle Yanok, who helped at the luncheon. He also was involved in the community, Yanok said.
Tom Linder described Rev. Hall as a person who is knowledgeable in many subjects, shared his musical talents with church members and is a great homilist who rarely uses notes in his sermons.
Rev. Hall said he will miss the trains rumbling past the rectory and the many people he met in the churches, schools, Actors Guild and city offices.
Parkersburg natives Tyler Warner and Matt Lindamood are working with inner-city youth while spreading the word of God in Los Angeles through Athletes in Action. They are participating in Urban Project-LA ministry, which is reaching out to children and adults in low-income, crime-infested areas of the city. In an email, Warner said he "has been able to grow and dig into the controversy of racism, diversity," and present the Gospel to others. In Nickerson Gardens, known for its gang activity, Athletes in Action set up activities such as football, basketball, kickball, arts and crafts, and volleyball for the kids, Warner wrote. "All had the opportunity to hear God's Word, which may have been able to plant a seed in their hearts," he said.
TarabRaqs, a family of dancers and musicians from Berkeley Springs, W.Va., picked up another performance while in Parkersburg appearing at the Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival last weekend. TarabRaqs performed its Middle Eastern music and dance last Friday night at Chams Lebanese Cuisine on Market Street for a party given by restaurant owners Chams Ekelman and Rizkallah "Rick" Helou. Jennifer Carpenter-Peak of TarabRaqs said Ekelman and Helou are "special people" and the group enjoyed its visit to Parkersburg. At Sunday's drum and dance workshop at the multicultural festival in City Park, Ekelman, her son, Benjamin, and Helou joined TarabRaqs on stage for a dabke line dance.
I enjoyed talking to chainsaw carver David Ferguson at the Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival Sunday while he was sitting next to a display of his daughter Katie's pottery. Ferguson recently closed his D-Whittlings Woodcarving shop along West Virginia 31 near the West Virginia Welcome Center in Williamstown. Ferguson has been carving bears, eagles, American Indians and other objects out of wood since 1992 and moved to the W.Va. 31 location in 2000. Ferguson estimates he has created 2,000 chainsaw carvings, including several items for Parkersburg City Park. Ferguson is now working out of his home studio in Parkersburg and can be contacted at 304-615-9082.
Contact Paul LaPann at email@example.com