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Methodist pastor hangs up her robes
After a decade of doing God's work in the Snoqualmie Valley, the Rev. Mary Brown of the
Snoqualmie United Methodist Church preached her last sermon on Sunday.
The 65-year-old North Bend resident known affectionately as
"Pastor Mary" to her congregation said
she looks forward to joining her husband William in retirement.
"This is the start of the new millennium and it's time for someone
else to bring their gifts and graces to the congregation," she said, adding
that the Rev. Beryl Ingram will begin leading the 184-member
congregation next week.
Brown began her pastoral career at the Snoqualmie Church exactly
10 years ago. She said that as a little girl she always felt the calling to go
"When I was growing up, I didn't see any women role models [as
pastors]," she said. "Then when I was attending a United Methodist Church
in Seattle, there was a woman pastor."
"So when my daughter graduated from high school I said it's now
or never," Brown recalled.
She decided to attend the Claremont School of Theology
in Southern California. Upon graduation, she was immediately placed at the
then 100-year-old church.
"It was all up to God and it was a good match," Brown said.
Church secretary Rose Whitney agrees Brown's presence at the
church was a match made in heaven.
"She's very active and very caring," said the five-year church
member. "She listens to you and you can tell her just about anything."
"It'll be like I'm missing a friend," Whitney added.
Throughout Brown's service in the Valley she has always stressed
the importance of the members' using their God-given gifts to benefit
the church and community.
In fact, Brown dedicated her last sermon to reinforce the idea that
each person is equipped with a special talent that should be used to touch
the lives of others. To seal the lesson, members were given a polished
stone with the letter "G" on it, which
stood for "God's Gift."
"I like to see people grow in their walk in Christ and seeing them
use their gifts whether it's for listening or for hospitality," she said. "We
never know what the gifts of the spirit will do."
Some of the church's outreach ministries include helping with
the Mount Si Helping Hands food bank in North Bend and the
establishment of the Good Neighbor Child Care Center that is housed in the education
wing of the church. Over the years Brown also witnessed the continual
improvements to the church building, the development of social and
spiritual groups and the multiple work parties organized by the members themselves.
"It's been a time of challenges and crisis, joys and sorrows. But the
idea of being sustained by God's grace is very much with me," Brown said.
And as the pastor wraps up her last week at the church, she will
always fondly recall the lives that she has touched in Snoqualmie and the
people that have become her friends.
"I will miss singing with the choir on Sunday mornings and the
Wednesday night practices," she said. "I
will miss the people and being in worship together."