New Methodist minister inspired by rainy days; Life’s journey brings pastor to Valley
February 2, 2009 · Updated 8:48 AM
Phil Harrington, new pastor at Snoqualmie United Methodist Church, found his new place in life following an unpredictable path.
Harrington’s journey led him to many different places and experiences, all of which make him who is today.
Harrington was born in Texas, but was raised in Michigan and Puerto Rico, the result of the Harrington family going where his father’s ministry took them.
Despite the family connection, Harrington did not originally see himself joining the ministry.
“I resisted because I didn’t want to become my father,” he said.
Harrington’s first interest was journalism, the study of which took him to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. That program’s focus on studying literature lured him away from journalism and into a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
“That’s what I found myself enjoying most,” hr said.
Faith began to tug at Harrington, and more and more often, he heard the call.
A change in course led him to California’s Bay Area and the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. There he received a master’s degree in religion and the arts, and later a master of divinity degree.
Professionally, Harrington has taught high school, served as a chaplain for both a hospital and a fire company, where he was also a volunteer firefighter.
Postings with the United Methodist Church have taken Harrington to Mason County, Port Hadlock, and most recently Spokane, where he spent the last two and a half years. A shuffling of pastors throughout the church led Harrington to his current post in Snoqualmie last November.
Harrington is still settling into the area, but he’s already got the mindset to survive in the Valley’s particular clime.
“I love the rain,” Harrington said. “I get inspired by rainy days.”
Harrington already has a good sense of his new congregation and has good feeling about what the church can accomplish.
“This is a very active, lively and healthy congregation,” he said.
Harrington finds the mix of historic, small town life and new, modern growth in Snoqualmie to be of particular interest.
“I like the challenge of working in a dynamic community like this,” he said.
As the new pastor, Harrington has many of the same goals that pastors all over the world have always had. He hopes to grow the congregation, expand on the works the church has always done, and deepen the church’s role in the community.
Having lived in Puerto Rico, Harrington has an affinity for the Caribbean and has done some work in Haiti and Cuba in the past. Given the congregation’s history of serving both the local community and the world outside, Harrington hopes to again serve that part of the world he has such fondness for.
“There’s a strong desire to be active,” he said of his congregation.
As for those who aren’t members of Snoqualmie United Methodist Church, yet might be inspired to one day walk through their door, Harrington is more than happy to say come on in, no matter who that person may be.
“We celebrate our open door policy,” he said. “Diversity does not scare us.”
Harrington has high hopes for what he and the church can accomplish.
“I think we have a lot to offer the community,” he said.