The Rev. Gary Lewis – “Parental Leave Pastor”

The Rev. Dr. Gary Lewis – “Parental Leave Pastor!”
    In late June, the Rev. Elissa Johnk and First Church President Rob Backus teamed up to announced that the Rev. Gary Lewis will serve as our “Parental Leave Pastor” while the Rev. Elissa Johnk is on leave this fall.  Rev. Johnk and her wife Sarah are expecting a baby in late August.
While serving with us, the Rev. Lewis will lead worship services on Sunday mornings and will cover other key areas of responsibility including participation with our Executive Committee, Trustees, Deacons and he will lead staff meetings.  The Rev. Johnk will be on maternity leave from mid-August through mid-November.
The Rev. Lewis brings much experience to his ministry at FCCB.  Gary is known for his dedication to community ministry, mission, pastoral care and preaching, and for a warm, dry sense of humor.  He preached at “First Church” in March 2019; you can see a video of his sermon using this LINK or see the “Sermons Online” page on our church website. We are fortunate that Gary will serve with us this fall and are grateful for his availability.
     Gary and Betty Lewis, after graduating from Springfield High School (VT) and graduating from college (Albion and UVM respectively) were married, moved to Burlington and began raising a family (two daughters Karen and Kelly).
Gary worked in the management program of JCPenney when it was on Church Street and Betty continued her education and began a teaching career.  In 1979 they joined First Church Burlington and over the next 4 years taught Sunday School and Gary was on the Mission Committee.  In 1983 they moved to southern Vermont and became active in the Chester Congregational Church.  It was in that church that Gary sensed a call to the ministry and in 1986 the family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania so he could attend seminary there.  Betty continued teaching over the next three years and in 1989, Gary accepted a call to the Vergennes Congregational Church, where he served until his retirement in May of 2018.
     Through the years Betty continued her profession in education with rewarding positions in literacy and culminating in the role of Special Education Director for the school district.  Throughout Gary’s time serving Vergennes, he was the Addison County Hospice Chaplain for 25 years (as a volunteer).   In 2005 Gary completed the Doctor of Ministry program at Hartford Seminary.  Their daughters  both graduated from Vergennes High School and both went to college (Karen currently works at Porter Hospital in Middlebury as their CNO and Kelly lives in South Windsor, Connecticut and works in Hartford as a Speech- Language Pathologist in a hospital there).  Both are married and each has a son (this Fall Colby will be 18 and Nathan, 12).
Gary and Betty now reside in Williston and have joined the Williston Federated Church, where they sing in the choir and try to behave!
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