| Apr 16, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 16, 2009 New ministers at Centenary Pastoral Chargeby Julie Druker

New ministers at Centenary Pastoral Charge, Gerri Butler and Gary Jones

Congregations at the Centenary Pastoral Charge are getting to know two new members of the community. Ministers Gary Jones and Gerri Butler recently took over the pulpits at the three United churches in Sharbot Lake, Maberly and Parham, and are now sharing the job, while the charge looks to fill the position permanently.

The charge opened up when Reverend Patsy Henry departed last November.

Gary and Gerri met in 1996 at St. Andrews United in North Bay when Gary was an intern and Gerri was ministering at two different churches there.

Both have worked as ministers full-time for many years. Gary has worked most recently in churches at Sebringville and Rostock near Stratford, Ontario, and Gerri at a pastoral charge near Goderich and at Kingscourt United in Kingston.

They are slowly becoming familiar with the three congregations and their communities since they have been filling in occasionally since August. They were officially appointed in early February and have been working since then.

Full-time ministry is a demanding job and because this position involves three separate communities, it tends to be even more so.

Both are adamant about meeting and spending time with community members. Gary pointed out, “A successful minister is someone who hears about the life people have had and hears their unique stories. It‘s important to make a deliberate effort to get to know people”.

Gerri spoke about some of the challenges of coming into the job. “It’s not always clear what people’s expectations are. And it takes quite a while to get involved enough in each congregation to know what people expect. It can be very different from person to person and from congregation to congregation.”

Both admit to finding being back at work interesting and exciting. Gary said, “ In the year that I was retired I was able to review some of my ideas on ministry and the Christian faith and I think I was able to have a rest -there is a psychologist, William James, who says, ‘You learn golf best in the winter’”.

Gary and Gerri bring to their work their distinct individual personalities, histories and interests, and are looking forward to getting to know the members of the community. Equally exciting for the community is the prospect of having the chance to get to know them.

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