Appreciating Pastor Kate

If you read or watch the news, the religious leaders who make headlines are people like Fred Phelps, Sr. who founded Westboro Baptist Church, known for its message of hate, or Abu Bakr al-Baghdādi, the founder of ISIS. Sure, there is an occasional feel-good story about Pope Francis or the Dalai Lama, but these individuals are thought to be the exception rather than the rule.

October is the month when Protestants celebrate the anniversary of Protestant Reformation sparked when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. And it is also Pastor Appreciation Month.

I thought about the thousands of faithful pastors who lead their congregations with integrity without making headlines. And I thought about my pastor who serves the spirited congregation of the United Methodist Church in Eddington, Maine.

I wrote this and presented it as a tribute to her on Sunday, 10/22/17.

“In July 2013 when Pastor Kate arrived at the North Brewer-Eddington United Methodist church I’m sure she didn’t say these exact words when she sized up her new flock, but her reaction went something like this, “Wow! You guys are old!”

Pastor Kate is the mother of two boys, and Andrew was six months old when we met her

Studies reveal that people who have lived together for a long time start to resemble one another. Heck, people even start looking like their dogs after a few years. But it is a little-known fact that ministers begin to look like their congregations.

The first thing to go was her eyesight. She started fumbling for reading glasses, and next thing we knew she was offering us an opportunity to buy large print Bibles.

Her tendency to fall is legendary and rivals that of a wobbly octogenarian. Yes, she loves to ski and bicycle, but Lord, can you please help her stay upright?

And I’ve seen a tiny bit of gray appear in her shoulder length hair as she approaches her 40th birthday.

I’d like to think we have started to resemble her, too. But not in the physical sense, because let’s face it, most of us will never look 39 again without plastic surgery.

I believe we have a new spiritual appearance because of Pastor Kate’s influence. Our revised vision/mission statement sums it up – inspiring worship and restoring hope through service in Christ.

Pastor Kate follows the lectionary for worship services, but she doesn’t omit the parts that make us uncomfortable. She challenges us to live our Christian faith outside the church building, serving our neighbors in need and sharing our faith with those who have no hope. She reminds us that she didn’t grow up in the church and when a Christian told her about the saving grace of Jesus, it changed her life forever.

With a heart for urban ministry, I’m sure Pastor Kate questioned why God led her to serve in a rural church in Eddington, Maine. But even as she acknowledged the boundless energy of her graying congregation working to meet the needs of the community, she found her call to establish and grow a street pastor ministry in downtown Bangor.

Pastor Kate looks more like us, and we look more like her, because of our shared love of Jesus who taught us how to live. Pastor Kate reinforces Christ’s teaching with her sermons and by her example, and for that, we are truly thankful.”

Whose leadership do you appreciate in your faith journey? 

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23 thoughts on “Appreciating Pastor Kate

  1. Pastors do indeed have a special place in our lives. We’ve had our Pastor since 1998 and watched his children grow into adults and his hairline recede 🙂 Our pastor plays ice hockey and rides a motorcycle but he looks fab in his suit! And his messages are illuminating and inspirational!

    • How wonderful that you’ve had the same pastor for almost 20 years, Terri. He seems like a really cool guy. We’ve had 4 pastors in that same time period at our church and it has been an adjustment with each change. Each one brought unique gifts and talents to the role. Pastor Kate is a biker, too, but without a motor. 🚴

  2. Lovely tribute to your Pastor, Molly. I have to think there’s something to – when you spend so much time with someone you begin to resemble one another, lol. 🙂

  3. What a lovely post and tribute to Pastor Kate. And sprinkled with humor and smiles, of course. You’re right that the good people and works of faith often are overlooked for the more sensational and destructive versions. Sharing the forces of kindness and compassion in our communities always makes for an uplifting read. 🙂

    • Thank you, Diana. I do get tired of stereotypes and the disrespectful view of religion and religious leaders portrayed in our ‘popular’ press. Human frailties will always provide material for the negative viewpoint, but for every nut job or bad apple, I believe there are multiple people who are sincere and living their faith, and quietly making a difference in this broken world. I always love to read your comments!

  4. Great tribute to one of the youngsters among us by one of the “just a little bit older” among us. Time will have its way with all of us. Pastor Kate and my good friend Molly make the journey so much better for all.

    Lin Lufkin

  5. Delightful post to celebrate Pastor Kate! 🙂 Pastor Jim (James Boughman), leader of Grace Linn Memorial United Methodist Church in Hartland, Maine is our rural flock’s shepherd and we’re all the better sheep with his leading. Parishioner Margie Hydorn guides of our Tuesday morning Bible Study. I’m very grateful for them both! 🙂

  6. It is amazing how one person can made a difference and open our eyes and spread Joy and Kindness by just being a PERSON. One act of kindness or a laugh when you really need it is very powerful. You have that quality Molly, so keep your stories coming. Pastor Kate is a good example.
    Hugs,
    Jane M ……..from Ca.

  7. Wonderful post and great way to start my day! So many good thoughts to ponder-but the part that jolted me with its simple truth- she didn’t know about Jesus’ grace until someone told her. So good to remember.

    • That thought jolts me, too, Jena, because I assume everyone knows. But so many today have not had any exposure to the Christian faith other than bad press, and they do not know the true message of love and grace. Thank you for leaving a comment.

  8. Your soul is forever young and your pastor seems to help her congregation to remember this. She sounds like a very special person and the world needs to be reminded that there are more people like Kate in the world than the hate filled.

    • Yes, Bernadette! I agree and feel that religion and Christianity have gotten a bad name due to a few rotten apples when so many do live their faith in a positive manner. We have a lot of fun at our church and as you can see, Kate wears a broad grin as part of her outfit. She is special indeed!

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