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Ryan resigns at OCUM

The Rev. Richard Ryan, the high-visibility music director and assistant pastor at Old Capitol United Methodist Church in Corydon for 17 years, announced his resignation and ‘self-imposed sabbatical’ Sunday during the worship service. His last Sunday will be Jan. 25.
Ryan, 49, said he has been thinking about doing a different kind of ministry since he attended Joyce Meyer’s first conference for pastors 1-1/2 years ago in St. Louis. Meyer is an author and TV Bible teacher with a large following.
Ryan said he feels that ‘God has told me to step out in faith and be still for a while.’ For someone as energetic, active and driven as Ryan, being still may be difficult. He said he will take some time to write but he will also be available for singing, concerts, preaching and personal testimonies, starting in February.
He and his wife, Cathy, the assistant principal at Silver Creek Elementary School in Sellersburg and former principal at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, would like to sell their house near Lanesville and move closer to Cathy’s school. They have three children: Briner, 20, a senior music major at Ball State University; Jonathan, 12, and Jenna, 10.
For most of his adult life, Ryan has not been far from a pulpit or a stage. He directed OCUM’s active musical program, which included many dramas, Christmas and Easter musicals and cantatas, and he was a dynamic preacher, Sunday school teacher and personal counselor. He married many couples and was asked to sing at countless funerals. He was an active leader in the Dayspring Emmaus spiritual retreat program in Southern Indiana.

In 1995, Ryan wrote a story called ‘The Day I Met Daniel,’ about an unlikely encounter he had in Corydon with a homeless person. Daniel moved about the country, working at odd jobs to buy food and Bibles that he gave away. ‘Daniel,’ first published in this newspaper, appeared in the ‘Third Helping of the Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series of inspirational books.
In his many ‘roles’ in the community, Ryan helped revive Hayswood Theatre in Corydon and he’s starred in many productions there, both musicals and dramas. But his stage career here is not over. He and Rita Hight will star in the 1964 musical, ‘I Do, I Do’ at Hayswood Theatre in Corydon next month. It opens Friday, Feb. 13, on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Ryan and Sue Woertz performed an inspirational one-act play, ‘Pokeweed and Mrs. Gasp,’ in local churches for a couple of years. Ten years ago Ryan started a nine-voice choral group, One Voice, which performs often in Kentuckiana and will release its fifth CD this month. The CD is called ‘Reach the World.’ One Voice will continue.
Ryan and his choir members often sang for ‘Christmas on the Square’ and ‘Light Up Corydon,’ and he often sang The National Anthem and ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ at the Old Settlers Days on the Fourth of July. He joked that when he was younger, people told him that someday he would become the next Jim Nabors or Robert Goulet. ‘I’m neither,’ he said.
More recently, Ryan started a ‘Body for Life’ Christian weight-loss program under the aegis of the YMCA of Harrison County.
Ryan noted that he was called to OCUM to serve a three-month interim and wound up staying 17 years, a relatively long time for a United Methodist church. He said he loves the church, the people and the community, but ‘I’m at peace with the whole decision. God has affirmed it in many ways, and I’m grateful.’