The Rev. Dr. Hugh L. Eichelberger

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)
Organization: Presbyterian Church (USA)

The late Rev. Dr. Hugh L. Eichelberger was a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Hugh Lee Eichelberger, Jr. was born December 8, 1934 in Clinton, SC, to Hugh Lee and Barbara Sullivan Eichelberger. He attended local schools, then graduated from the McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN, where he was elected to the All-America football team. He attended Clemson University on a football scholarship before transferring to Presbyterian College in Clinton, where he graduated with a major in English. He and Priscilla Ruth Dickson, of Anderson, SC, married in 1955. He served as a lieutenant in the Army's anti-aircraft artillery in Fort Bliss, Texas, then as a teacher and football coach at the McCallie School, before earning a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta.

In the 1960s he served as pastor of Rock Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, SC, as a chaplain at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and as the first pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, NC. After two years on the national staff of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. in Atlanta, he was senior minister of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, then of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA.

In 1989 Dr. Eichelberger established the Wellspring Counseling Center in Hendersonville. He served as interim senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC, before becoming senior pastor of First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. Dr. Eichelberger was a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors and a Fellow and member of the national board of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He also served a term as president of the national Academy of Parish Clergy.

During the 1980s he earned Doctor of Ministry degree in counseling from Columbia Seminary, was an adjunct member of the faculty of Union Theological Seminary and the Virginia Institute for Pastoral Care, and was named a Fellow at the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington. While in Charleston, Dr. Eichelberger delivered six sermons on The Protestant Hour, an international, ecumenically-sponsored radio broadcast. He also wrote a column on marriage and family issues for the Charleston Post and Courier. Other articles appeared in The Journal of Pastoral Care, The Presbyterian Survey, Monday Morning, and Lectionary Homiletics. In 2005 he published A Distant Trumpet, a collection of sermons preached in Charleston.

After retiring from full-time parish ministry, Dr. Eichelberger continued to work as a pastoral counselor. He also spent time as a monastic guest at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, SC, and thereafter felt a special connection to the brothers of that community, especially their abbot, the late Father Francis Kline. In 1999 Hugh and Priscilla retired to a mountaintop home in western NC, where Hugh enjoyed touring on his motorcycle, volunteering, beekeeping, reading, and writing an occasional column, "From the Top of the Mountain," for the Tryon Daily Bulletin.

Beloved by his family, Hugh Eichelberger will be remembered as well for his gifts as a preacher, counselor, teacher, and leader. His infectious sense of humor and his gregarious personality enabled him to form friendships with a wide range of people throughout his life. A man of great enthusiasm, empathy, and poetic imagination, he was an irrepressible idealist. He always assumed that it is possible to combat injustice, intolerance, loneliness, mediocrity, and apathy. He believed in redemption, in forgiveness, and in new beginnings. In his presence, people became aware of their own desires for renewal and of their own capacity for compassion.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Hugh L. Eichelberger

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A New Perspective

Sunday June 23, 1996

Beyond Introspection

Sunday April 21, 1996

The Quintessential Pilgrim

Sunday March 31, 1996
Rev. Dr. Hugh L. Eichelberger reminds us that as Christians we are all pilgrims called to empty ourselves pride, ambition, and fear, and to follow Jesus as he leads us deeper and deeper into the Kingdom of God.