On August 7 our church will do something it has done only 36 times in its 174-year history — welcome a new pastor into our midst to lead our worship and guide our individual and congregational faith journeys.
Her name is Maureen Berson, and she is a United Methodist lay supply pastor. She was a first-grade teacher in Red Creek until 1998 when, under the mentoring of Rev. Diane Walker, she responded to God’s call to ministry. She pursued a degree in Christian counseling at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester. That led to work in a victim resource center in Newark, New York. By 2016, the call to ministry in a local church became clear to her.
Her first worship service at Minetto will be on Sunday, August 7, at the new starting hour of 10:00 a.m. The Chancel Choir will interrupt its summer hiatus to provide music for the special occasion, led by music director Mary Lou Bjorkman and accompanied by organist Sandra Machuga. The choir will sing a gospel anthem entitled, “Keep Your Lamps,” and an anthem to celebrate new beginnings entitled, “Season of Promise.”
Visitors are always welcome and the building is fully accessible. Masks are not required but may be worn if desired. The sanctuary air cleaners run 24/7 except during services and other safety measures are practiced.
The people of the church and community will gather for a potluck luncheon after the Sunday worship service on August 7 to welcome Pastor Berson and her husband to our parish. Bring a dish to share; beverages and table ware will be provided.
Rev. Berson and her husband, Joseph, have been active members of the Sterling United Methodist Church for ten years where he serves as treasurer and trustee and she chaired the Pastor, Staff, Parish Relations Committee and was a lay servant speaker, newsletter contributor, and pianist.
Asked what she loves, Rev. Berson listed everyday miracles, discovering God’s hand and love in the little things of life, speaking the promises of God, caring for others as God leads, expressing gratitude, music, time with family and friends, developing and cherishing friendships, celebrating the gifts and talents of others, and visiting friends who have difficulty getting out of their homes.
Referring to her imminent pastorate in Minetto, Rev. Berson wrote to the congregation, “My prayer is to serve the Lord faithfully, to magnify God with you in worship, discipleship, and service through the leading of the Holy Spirit.” “My heart is filled with gratitude for the honor and blessing of serving as your pastor.”
Remember, beginning August 7 the start time for our Sunday worship services will change to 10:00 a.m. and continue at that time for the foreseeable future.
Let us use this occasion not only to welcome the Bersons but to celebrate our emergence from the grip of the Covid pandemic. It is time to resume the fellowship that is so important to our mental and spiritual health. Plans for the day have been made by the Administrative Council chaired by Kathy Duschen and the Pastor, Staff, Parish Relations Committee co-chaired by Sean Simonson and Jeff Rothrock.