Meet Pastor David

Pastor David Cook is the new pastor at the United Churches of Hot Springs. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us so that we can all get to know him better. Check out his responses and please do take the time to reach out to him and his wife and extend a warm welcome.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Rev. Dr. David A. Cook and his wife, Bernice, are originally from San Diego, California. They have served as pastor and spouse in Presbyterian congregations located in Pennsylvania, New York, and Missouri. Rev. Cook holds a Bachelor’s Degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts. His doctoral thesis is entitled: “Grand-Legacy: How Grandparents can share their faith in Christ with their grandchildren in an age-appropriated manner.”

David is an avid golfer, oil painter, genealogist, and teacher. Bernice is a lifelong lover of books, music, children, and contemplative Christianity. The Cooks have two grown sons: Brian (Kendra) who works as a security officer for the Oregon University system and Joel (Elise) who serves with the Office of Special Investigations for the United States Air Force.

The proud parents are happy empty nesters keeping quite busy spoiling two felines, Jack and Zoe.

What drew you to explore and accept the call to serve the congregation in Hot Springs?

 As our ministry on Missouri was winding down, I was earnestly trying to discern where and if the Lord would have us to serve Him in His church family. We considered retirement. But neither one of us had peace with that choice. We finally made the joint decision to pray and then put our PIF online to see if the Lord would open any doors. South Dakota was not initially high on our list of choices to serve, much less live. Yet, when we began to communicate with the church here in Hot Springs, the Lord began the wondrous process of confirmation. From the beauty of the Black Hills, to the combined congregation of Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists (three denominations that have been a part of our church journey through the years), to “Fall River” county, mirroring the name of the town in which Bernice was raised, the Lord began to not only open the doors to a new ministry but open our hearts to a new place. He continues to assure us that we are in the right place at the right time. 

What are you most excited about as you begin your ministry?

 I am excited about our ministry here for three reasons. First, I am genuinely excited about the Hot Springs church itself. With the three denominations living out their common faith in Christ in such a way and for such a long period of time, I feel refreshed to be a part of a church group that has over time, learned not focus so much on polity and petty differences, but on Christ and the salvific message of the Good News. Thus, I can sense and see the hand of God on the congregation as a whole. I find great liberty in such a setting to utilize my own gifts and talents in a context where people seem hungry to grow, willing to learn, eager to share, and thoughtful in interaction. In other words, there is a true spiritual, family ambience that permeates much of what goes on in the church. Second, both Bernice and I have been pleasantly surprised at the incredible number of activities that are part of the community life here at the Springs. Events here are geared to be more family-friendly, clean and wholesome, well organized and remarkably well attended. We continue to be convinced that South Dakota is one of the best kept secrets around! Third, I am truly excited because I can wear my cowboy boots and not feel out of place! What more can a guy ask for?

How can we be praying for you?

 Please just pray for our family’s life challenges and many decisions that we face: my mother’s growing dementia and her care, both of our sons’ work and family issues, wisdom in financial matters, our house to sell in Missouri, Bernice’s seasonal challenges, healing from our last pastorate, the aging process in general (this getting older stuff is for the birds!), and finally for the Lord to continue to lead and direct all that we do.