Tribune Print Share Text

Barber on a mission

Methodist pastor has unique tools for putting his faith in action

Created date

December 25th, 2012

As a young man, Pete Robertson was sure he would go into the family business. I went to a barber college in Dallas on the GI bill, says Pete, who served in the Navy during the Korean War. Then I opened up shop with two of my brothers. But it wasn t long before Pete felt a stirring that moved him away from barbering. By 1956, the call to ministry was clear to me, says Pete. He enrolled at Southern Methodist University and spent the next eight years earning a bachelor s degree in psychology and a master s degree in theology. To help pay his way through college, Pete worked at a barbershop in Richardson every Saturday. Barbering s like riding a bike, he says. Once you learn, you always know how to do it.

More of a ministry

Pete s first pastorate was at a church in Van Alstyne, just north of Dallas, where he served while finishing seminary. When he completed his education, he left the barbershop. But he didn t give away his tools. When I visited church members in the hospital or in their home, I d take my tools with me, says Pete. I d give them a haircut or shave if they needed it. It helped them, and it helped me get acquainted with them. That s been my history for many years.

Strength in adversity

After Van Alstyne, Pete was called to Schreiber United Methodist Church in Dallas, then to Waples Memorial Methodist Church, in Denison. While he was serving in Denison, Pete s first wife was killed in a car accident. Adversity always strengthens you if you have faith, says Pete. It can either destroy you or strengthen you. I chose the latter, and my faith is stronger because of it. Pete has been married to his second wife Jane for 32 years. The couple has five children between them. After Denison, Pete went on to hold a number of positions within the United Methodist Church, including district superintendent of the Dallas South District and the Dallas Central District. When he retired for the first time in 1990, Pete was serving as the director of church development for the North Texas conference.

Back to barbering

When I retired in 1990, I went back to work as the director of pastoral care for Custer Road United Methodist Church, says Pete. So I guess I ve never really retired. Pete and Jane moved toHighland Springsshortly after it opened in 2006. Around the community, Pete s known as a compassionate, caring pastor with a heart for people. He s also been known to give a shave or two. Whether it s offering a spiritual presence or giving a haircut, I wouldn t refuse anyone who asked, says Pete. We re a family here, a company of brother and sisters. It s a marvelous place to live.