Palisades Presbyterian Church Pastor Eric Schaefer Has Moved to Nashville

By Corinne Bourdeau
Special to the Palisades News

As the Youth Pastor at Palisades Presbyterian Church for more than 23 years, Eric Schaefer always went way above and beyond the role of a youth minister.

Under his stewardship, the Presbyterian youth group became a safe harbor for kids of all ages, backgrounds and religions, and countless of them were affected by his teaching and his program’s activities and travels.

Both of my daughters, and many of their friends, had their lives changed by Pastor Eric. He taught them faith and deep spiritual lessons during the time when they needed it the most—the turbulent and difficult years of middle school and high school.

Pastor Eric Schaefer
Pastor Eric Schaefer

Although our children are growing up in a privileged community, they must learn to cope with the difficult life lessons that come with being raised in such an affluent, materialistic society. Bullying, loss of meaning, stress, burnout and feeling left out run rampant with our Westside teens.

Pastor Eric was always there for these kids. He led them on mission trips, international journeys, group outings, ski trips and Bible studies, and engaged them in endless discussions covering life issues. My eldest daughter, Dominique, visited a leper colony with Eric and his lovely wife Kim, and was forever changed.

The youth group kids will always remember the Mammoth trips, the late-night Ditty Reese outings, lock out (the annual night where they slept over at the church) and bowling nights.

However, it is the deep sense of belonging to a spiritual community filled with compassion, depth and a deep level of acceptance, combined with the beautiful moral lessons, that will stay with these youth for the rest of their lives.

In 2014, Pastor Eric was elevated to pastor at Palisades Presbyterian Church, where he rose to the occasion and brilliantly led the entire church community.

Adults and children alike were affected by his heartfelt sermons and thrived in the way he led our church community with grace, reverence and dedication. The brilliant compassion that was once solely for the lucky youth was now available to the entire church, which flourished under his leadership and was never stronger or more vibrant.

On Sunday, June 4, with great sadness and heartbreak, we said goodbye to Pastor Eric, as he and his beautiful wife and family prepare to move on. However, his great legacy will stay with us forever.

My family is heartbroken and devastated. This is a deep and profound loss for our entire community, well beyond just our church. Our heart aches for the youth who will lose his leadership.

Enveloped in sadness, I find that Pastor Eric is teaching us yet another important life lesson: to let go with deep appreciation and gratitude. We stand deeply anchored in the fact that our lives have been forever changed by this great man. For this I am eternally grateful and thankful, and so are generations of youth.

Godspeed, Pastor Eric, you will remain in our hearts forever.

(Editor’s note: Pastor Eric Schaefer, wife Kim and sons Carter and Spencer have moved to Nashville to be closer to family. Tyler and Carter graduated from Palisades High School and Spencer has just finished his freshman year there. Tyler, who has been working at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, will remain in this area.)

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