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Rev Dr. David A. Renwick

Has been an ordained Presbyterian Minister for 40 years, serving diverse congregations in Newfoundland, Canada; San Antonio, Texas; Lexington, KY; and Spartanburg, South Carolina. Dr. Renwick is a graduate of St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, where he studied Applied Mathematics.  He received his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. David’s wife Currie is a Media Specialist in the DC Public Schools.  They have three adult children and five grandchildren.

His conviction led to more than a spiritual journey

The Rev. Dr. David Renwick was an exchange student in the United States when he was “challenged to answer God’s call.”

Renwick, the grandson and great-grandson of Presbyterian ministers, admits the decision to follow his calling was a frightening one.

It has since been a journey of great joy -- one that began in an old iron ore-mining town in Canada and led to Spartanburg, where Renwick recently was named senior minister of First Presbyterian Church.

In 1974, Renwick came to the United States to attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston and pursue a relationship with Currie Overby, a student he met while she studied in Scotland.

Currie and Renwick married the following year. They have three children: Lalla, 25, Charles, 23, and Mairi, 20.

Renwick was born in Malaysia in March 1952 to Scottish parents.

“It was a British colony. My father was in the Department of Agriculture. He was a veterinarian and my mother was a nurse,” he said.

The family lived there until Renwick was 5. They returned to Scotland after Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

Getting over a fear

Renwick’s spiritual conviction to enter the ministry began to weigh on him during his second year at St. Andrews University, where he was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics.

“I intended to teach math,” he said. “I loved math. From 10 or 12 on, it was my favorite subject.”

Reading, on the other hand, was difficult for him.

“I was scared to death of this whole thing,” Renwick said about entering the ministry. “I could not speak in public through my teenage years; it was the most fearful thing in my whole life.”

Renwick not only feared public speaking. He dreaded the prospect of being in an environment that would require him to “have to read, read, read and write.”

“I fought that for a long time,” he said.

But his decision to pursue the ministry ultimately was influenced by people he met and an “inner conviction that God wanted me to do something else.”

An influential meeting

Renwick worshipped at First Presbyterian Church in Schenectady, N.Y., while an exchange student in the U.S. in 1971. It was there that he met Dr. Herbert Mekeel, a minister who would have a profound effect on his life.

Mekeel “had the gift of challenging you to think about what God wanted you to do with your life,” he said.

“After my junior year, with the influence of Dr. Mekeel, I spent a summer in a church in Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. It was during that summer that I sensed God’s call.”

Renwick was 21 when he preached his first sermon to a friend.

“I was going to preach for a summer and I had never preached anywhere. So I said, ‘You know, before I inflict this on a congregation, how is it?’

“His feedback was, ‘Don’t rub your hands like this,’ ” Renwick said, rubbing his palms together as if praying.

Renwick has since ministered to five congregations, including First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg, and earned a doctorate of philosophy from Union Theological Seminary.

Before coming to Spartanburg, Renwick was minister at Second Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky., serving there from 1994 to 2006.

Renwick spends his time out of the pulpit playing tennis and golf.

“I am a very fortunate person because I’m doing what I love to do,” he said. “What I discovered in accepting God’s call is that God knew better than I where my greatest joy would lie.”

Kim Kimzey, author of this article, can be reached
at 562-7264 or

A sermon by Dr. David A. Renwick for Christmas in audio format

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