August 2023 | Written by Maribeth Griessel
Everyone has their favorite TV channels, probably mostly on cable television. As we approach the last few weeks of Pastor Ritchey’s ministry at Gashland, perhaps you would enjoy learning more about the CABLE CHANNELS.
HISTORY: “Ritchey” is our pastor’s mom’s maiden name; “Wiesinger,” his middle name, is his paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Add those to “Cable,” and we see he actually has three last names. He was born March 21, 19?? in Conroe, TX, to parents Sam and Janet Cable, “Papa Sam” and “Mama J” to the grandchildren. His older brother, Scott, lives in Colorado with his family, and younger brother Chris and his family reside in California. Melissa Cable was born in Kansas City on November 20th (but grew up in Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis.) She lost her father, Robert Parker, when she was 21. Melissa’s mother, Kathy Griffith, lives in Leawood, KS, with her husband Ron. And her younger sister, Vanessa, and her family are Fort Worth, TX, residents. The Cables’ firstborn son, Robert Parker, joined the family on April 16, 2003, while they resided in St. Louis. Two and a half years later found the Cables living in Alexandria, LA, where son, Cooper William, became a member of the clan on October 23, 2005. While remaining in Louisiana, the two boys welcomed baby sister Sophie Claire on July 17, 2008.
LIFETIME: Cooper is preparing for his senior year at Staley HS, and enjoys working with visual effects and video editing. (This is a handy son for Ritchey, as Pastor Cable may hopefully pursue more writing/film-making in the future.) Parker, a KU Jayhawk, “Rock Chalk,” is pursuing a Sports Management degree with emphasis in physical therapy, and has a business minor. Enjoying work with kids, Parker is serving this summer as a Youth Intern for GEPC. He would like to seek a career in physical therapy. Sophie will be a sophomore at Staley this year, and enjoys singing and theater, as well as writing and English classes. Though her future plans are yet to be determined, she may work in “some kind of helping profession.” Pastor Ritchey relates, “Melissa and I met while volunteering for a ministry in Waco, TX, while attending Baylor. Many know the wild story how we never had dated, when I got down on one knee and proposed to my best friend. We were married a year later on June 10, 2000. My favorite thing about her is her fervor for life and how she cares deeply for the vulnerable in our world.”
Cable-SPAN: This channel offers news about family plans. Melissa, after spending the past 18 years, on and off, working in the field of adoption, recently left that endeavor to begin a full time position with Della Lamb, where she works with newly resettled refugees. She shares, “I am loving this very hard work, our new neighbors and the diverse group of co-workers I have. It has given me renewed passion and energy.” And of course the most pronounced, as well as sadly difficult, piece of C-SPAN news is the departure of Ritchey Wiesinger Cable from his position as senior pastor at GEPC. As impossible as it is to express the congregation’s sadness at his leaving, his flock is equally supportive in wishing him every success and happiness as he moves on to the new plans God has for him, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And wherever he goes, he will continue to personify his wife’s description of him, “My favorite thing about Ritchey is his patience, sense of humor, and I am truly in awe of the pastor he is and the sermons he works so hard on and delivers so faithfully.”
SPORTS: Parker loves “Anything sports related….watching, playing, talking about. I love specifically to watch football and especially the Chiefs, and watching and playing basketball. I also started loving building LEGO sets again in the last year.” We should certainly not leave out Cooper, who vigorously participates in indoor rock climbing.
INSPIRATION: Pastor Ritchey grew up Methodist, attended Baptist churches during college, and “was introduced to reformed theology and then Presbyterianism at the end of college. This eventually led to a Presbyterian seminary in St. Louis and joining my first EPC church.”
Though Melissa didn’t grow up regularly in church, she did attend Christian and Methodist churches sporadically. “When I was 13 friends invited me to their youth group and eventually I asked Jesus to be my Lord. I’m still close friends with those middle-schoolers who led me to the Lord all those years ago.”
ANIMAL PLANET: Alas, this channel has rarely been tuned in. Cooper shares that the program content consists of only 2 fish, now consigned to Davy Jones’ Locker, and on a happier note, the family’s loveable canine, Baylor, who joined his human pack during the pandemic.
DISCOVERY: Did you know Parker is left-handed? And don’t ever serve him the much-maligned rice…. he hates it! But he loves “brown square shaped cereals.” Speaking of despised foods, “You couldn’t pay me any amount of $$ to eat a tomato!” proclaims Sophie. And she adds an amazing fact, “I’m the first girl in over 100 years on the male side of the Cable family.” She is also shy until people get to know her. Regarding her father, Ritchey, please keep dangerous Christmas projectiles away from him. He “had a pine needle get lodged into my tonsil once by laughing and had to go to the ER.” Melissa describes herself as a “recovering and current nail-biter, who loves dancing, especially at weddings or to 80s music.” Cooper is a video game aficionado who used to run cross country….not at the same time, we hope!
TRAVEL: Ritchey names his favorite journeys as “My annual guys’ trips to various cities, wine country in CA with friends, and of course national parks with my family.” Parker adds that Zion, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Washington, DC, are among his best vacation spots, and he still wants to get to Maine, New York, Hawaii and Australia. Sophie has fond memories also of national parks, and adds in California and Florida. She hopes to travel around Europe someday. Cooper longs to venture farther still, and explore New Zealand. Melissa has bragging rights, in that she only has 5 states left to complete visits to all 50….go, Mrs. Cable!!
HALLMARK: Melissa provides, “Fave memories from GEPC – launching women’s ministry, the many, many people I can text in a minute that will immediately pray, the love and care youth group has been for my kids, any coffee or walk I’ve taken with another GEPC woman, and the Pastor Appreciation parade during the pandemic.” Her husband adds some of his great memories: “Hosting film fanatics summer social, watching Wednesday night Conversations begin, teaching Getting to Know Gashland, and having fun with the staff we’ve assembled.” Also, “A part of ministry that has surprised me that I find the most meaningful is walking through grief with others, ministering through leading funerals.” Sophie recalls great Gashland memories in youth group, helping with children’s church, her parents’ friends and Snowbird high school camp. Cooper also has enjoyed Snowbird, as well as middle school mystery trips and helping with Breakaway. Some of Parker’s highlights include going into a salt mine on the middle school mystery trip, again Snowbird, and a Guatemala mission trip with his mom and other youth.
ENCORE: At last report, Sophie, Cooper and Parker will continue at Gashland with the youth group for a while to come. But of course their parents will move on to the ministries of the Lord’s choosing. The definition of “encore” is for a performer or group to return to the stage at the audience’s request. May the Cable family always know they are loved, missed and welcome to pay an encore visit at any time.