Parish associate retires from Davidson College Presbyterian
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – Bill Tiemann retired for the second time on Sunday. But, just like after his first retirement, he won’t stop serving the community.
Tiemann retired from his post as parish associate at Davidson College Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Jan. 1, after 11 years as the congregation’s ambassador to the elderly, sick and grieving.
“First of all, it brings to them the fact that somebody cares about them, that the church cares. And secondly it brings some encouragement, and third I would always, always have a prayer with them,” Tiemann said. “So we would pray for their healing, and their health, and that was always, I think, helpful to them. They felt that somebody really cared about them, and that somebody was praying for them.”
Tiemann holds three degrees from the Austin, Texas Presbyterian Theological Seminary and studied clinical pastoral education at Andover-Newton Theological Seminary and Boston City Hospital. He also holds a bachelor of science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
He served at four different Presbyterian churches in Texas and for three years as the college chaplain at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, before moving to Charlotte in 1989 for a job with the Charlotte Presbytery.
Tiemann and his wife, the Rev. Rachel F. Haynes, moved to Davidson to retire in 1993, even though, Tiemann says, you never really retire.
“We moved here because we liked it,” Tiemann said. “We were tired of living in Charlotte. It was kind of a zoo, getting to be a zoo.”
As Parish Associate, Tiemann focused on visitation and pastor care, but did any job around the church as it was needed. He worked with the pastor and Congregational Care Committee to ensure care was given to church members that needed it.
“People join churches because they want to be a part of a group, where they can believe together with other people,” Tiemann said. “If they’re neglected, they get pretty discouraged. Our job was not to neglect people that joined with us.”
Tiemann spent a lot of his time as Parish Associate visiting The Pines, Davidson’s senior community, where more than one third of residents belong to Davidson College Presbyterian Church. While some people may get worn down or defeated by giving so much of themselves and their time to suffering people, Tiemann’s compassion and social nature kept him coming back.
“I like people. I love to see people, I love to visit them, and so many of these were people who had special needs, or wants or another. And so maybe I could be a help by visiting them. Maybe I couldn’t, but at least I would try,” Tiemann said. “As you care for people, they understand that you’re basically expressing God’s care for them. Some of these people don’t feel cared for. They feel very lost and alone.”
Since he first moved to Davidson, Tiemann has seen the town double in size. He credits town leadership with not letting that growth take over.
“We’ve had some great leadership in Davidson,” Tiemann said.
For at least one town leader, the admiration is mutual.
“He is wise and witty and has a deep understanding of people and our community,” former commissioner Margo Williams said of Tiemann. “I think you would find him an interesting person who has made a real difference in Davidson, not just in the church.”
After officially leaving his post, Tiemann plans to find time to travel with his wife, organize their lifetime of belongings and continue to stay involved at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, with Sunday school and whatever jobs they have.