The Reverend Doctor Richard N. Rinker (“Rev”), a retired United Church of Christ minister and a graduate of the University of Connecticut, Hartford Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary, left this life to be with the Lord on February 23, 2019, surrounded by his family at his home in Elon, North Carolina. Originally from New Britain, Connecticut, he served in United Church of Christ Conference staff positions in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia as Minister of Christian Education, providing leadership in church school teachers’ training, youth ministries leaders’ training, outdoor ministries, and adult church education. During his more than fifty years in the ministry, he served as a pastor in New Britain, Connecticut and local churches in various capacities, including writing numerous articles for church educational publications. Rev. Rinker published four books in his lifetime including “The East Burlap Parables,” “Where Eyes Are Lifted: The Story of Johns River Valley Camp and Its Setting,” “Michael F. Rinker, Pioneer Pastor” with co-author David B. Rinker, and “Holy Scope!,Dimensions of God.”
Rev. Rinker is survived by his wife, Josie F. Rinker; his three children Mark Rinker (Jody), Cindy Rinker (Brian) and Sharon Jeanne Rinker Johnson (Joey); his stepdaughter through marriage, Sundie Bisher (Dwight); two grandchildren, Jeremy Rinker (Danielle) and Jessica Rinker (Kelsey Rae Sanford); stepgrandchildren Samantha Johnson Solis (Joseph), Terra Bailey Cashion (Jeremy), Gretchen Schwartz (Joshua Crippen), Gwenna Ponce, Keith Bisher (Lisa), Christina Knoll (Rich), and Karmen Staton (Mason); and his many, many great grandchildren, all of whom brought laughter, love and energy to his life.
Rev. Rinker was the epitome of living a faith-based life, reminding us all that “those who are hardest to love need love the most” and to always “think happy thoughts.” He couldn’t resist telling a story from his past, most of which his family heard a dozen or so times and often wondered if he had embellished a little too often.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Elon College Community Church, 271 N. Williamson Avenue, Elon, NC 27244 at 2:00 p.m. followed by a reception at the church community life center. A private family disposition service will be held in the future.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Elon College Community Church, 271 N. Williamson Avenue, Elon, NC 27244; Back Bay Mission, Post Office Box 288, Biloxi, MS 39533; and Hospice and Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215.