Church issues official welcome to its new pastor
The Rev. Ed Horne, the new pastor of the Unted Methodist Church of Litchfield and Bantam, addresses his congregation during a reception held after service on Sunday. BZ photos
The United Methodist Church of Litchfield and Bantam is alive and well under the direction of a new pastor and in its new Sunday home at St. Paul's Lodge on Meadow Street.
On Sunday, the church officially welcomed its new pastor, the Rev. Ed Horne of Goshen. Horne and his wife, Sara, who is certified as a Methodist clergyperson, began working in Litchfield on July 1 but Sunday was the day when the church issued its official greeting.
"This is a welcoming, loving and supportive group of people," Horne said after a spirited service at St. Paul's Lodge.
Horne retired from the ministry in June 2018 after 41 years of service in Connecticut, New York City and Long Island. The final post of his his career was in Westport.
Last year Horne became involved with the church in Litchfield as it began the process of putting its church on West Street on the market because it had become too costly to maintain. Horne, who was overseeing the process a a representative of the regional United Methodist Church hierarchy, was then appointed pastor to succeed the Rev. Kathleen Reynolds.
During his brief time in Litchfield, Horne has injected a new energy into the church that has resulted with an increase in membership, according to Jim Strub, leader of the church's board of directors.
With its membership dwindling and the cost of maintaining its church soaring, the congregation decided to try to sell the building and move Sunday services to St. Paul's Lodge, which was the home of the United Methodist Church of Litchfield from 1835 to 1885.
St. Paul's offered the use of its space to help the church and the arangement is working.
"We've already come to love this space," Horne said during Sunday's service.
Horne thanked St. Paul's for its generosity and acknowledged St. Paul's member Phil Birkett, who attended the service with his wife, Marilyn.
Last year, the congregation could have disbanded but voted to stick together as a group.
"We took a chance and it has led to good things," Strub said.
The church has also added Bantam to its name to reflect its intent to be a community-wide church. Bantam's Methodist church was destroyed in the tornado of 1989 and some but not all of its congregants joined the Litchfield church.
Below, church congregant Rochelle Clementson made sure everyone had plenty to eat at the post-service reception.