DOVER — The Rev. Theodore Henderson, pastor of Dover Christian Church, just had a gut feeling that it was time for a change.
So he’s acting on it by stepping aside and letting some new energy guide the church.
During a ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday at the west Dover facility, the Rev. Henderson will retire from the ministry and hand the reins over the Rev. John Moore, who has served as associate pastor for two years.
“There comes a period in time when you kind of know it’s time,” the departing reverend said. “I did all I can do, and I think John Moore is a man of great vision, great compassion and has a lot of pastoral sense, so I think he’s going to be the right guy to take our church to the next level.”
The Rev. Henderson took over as pastor at Dover Christian — 1738 Forrest Ave., near Dover High School — in 2003, after serving 24 years as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, retiring from the military in September 2002.
He has also been a faithful servant to the community, as president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Dover and Vicinity Inc.
The Rev. Moore said he will have some big shoes to fill behind the pulpit at Dover Christian Church, but it is a challenge to which he is looking forward.
“As far as my being elected as the new pastor of the Dover Christian Church — which we also call DC Squared, ‘that computation that leads to salvation’ — I am both excited and humbled,” he said. “I know that this appointment was ordained by God, and so I am going to rely on the Lord’s guidance and stand on God’s word that says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.’”
The Rev. Henderson received his ordination and ecclesiastical endorsement from the Church of Christ. In fall 1974, he entered Howard University Theological Seminary.
Upon completion of his Master of Divinity in May 1978, he received a direct commission and entered the Air Force that August. He went on to serve 24 years.
He immediately became involved in the Dover community afterward, working closely with a multitude of faith organizations, including being an adviser on the Lieutenant Governor’s Faith Leader’s Call, which gave guidance on the challenges of the pandemic.
The Rev. Moore said the Rev. Henderson’s spirit of humility has been instrumental in targeting needed resources to those most challenged in the community.
“Pastor Theodore Henderson has been a remarkable leader to emulate,” he noted. “As a retired chaplain of the United States Air Force, he has demonstrated to me — a retired Air Force veteran, as well — that the core values that we followed in the military of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do, (are) demonstrated in Pastor Henderson’s daily life.
“He is an amazing preacher, speaker and teacher, whose level of biblical intellect is enormous, and I, as well as hundreds of others, have been a beneficiary of his vast knowledge.”
He added, “Another remarkable quality that makes him a great role model is that he is an honest man and a keeper of his word. This is demonstrated in his work in the church and his devotion as a family man who truly honors his wife, loves his children and is dedicated to the parishioners under his guidance.”
The Rev. Henderson is married to the former Beverly Glanton of Minneapolis. They have a daughter, Erica, and two sons, John and Anthony.
He also has an extended family — his faithful congregation at Dover Christian.
“Pastor Henderson has always made himself readily available to the members of the congregation,” said the Rev. Moore. “He has visited the sick, officiated weddings, provided counseling for life challenges, attended special events and preached eulogies for members that passed away. He will not hesitate to call or drive to a member of the congregation needing his presence.
“His impact to the congregation can be summarized in the words of the chairman of the Deacon Board, Truman Bolden, who said, ‘I cannot put into words how much Pastor Henderson has meant to the Dover Christian Church family. He never asked the members to do anything that he wouldn’t do; he led by example.
“Whether work ethic or character issues, he served as a super role model. Even when I disagreed with him, I never questioned his integrity or commitment to the Dover Christian Church family. He was a great shepherd!’”
After the final “amen” at Sunday’s ceremony, the Rev. Henderson is confident the church will be left in good hands and that he is making the right decision.
“I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I’ve (served in the ministry) for 46 years, and John Moore is a great guy. I’ve known him for years, and he’s going to be a great pastor.”