Our new full time pastor, Rev. Joy Toll-Chandler, begins her ministry at Hope UMC on the first of July! Here is a message that she wrote to us as she was preparing for her move.
Hello to all the folks at Hope UMC! I am excited to be packing boxes and getting ready to move to Belchertown where I can get to know you all, and serve our loving God together.
My husband, Paul, and I are moving from Punta Gorda, FL and are anxious to get back to New England. We went to Florida after my youngest graduated from high school, as I was ready for both some warm weather and a bit of a change in my ministry. God blessed us with 9 warm winters, and I had the opportunity to serve as a Minister of Music and as a Director of Worship Arts in Presbyterian Churches there. I studied music as an undergraduate, and then did graduate studies in church music at Concordia University. I loved directing music and arts programs, and I learned a lot about ministry during that time.
However, I have missed the pastoral ministry, and I have missed my family, and am so grateful to now be appointed to Hope UMC. My previous pastorates were in Maine and Vermont where I served mostly rural churches, as well as co-pastored a more suburban federated church (UMC/UCC). I think my strong points of ministry are pastoral care, preaching and worship leadership, and planning/organizing. I try hard to listen well, to be adaptable, to be creative, and to care deeply for people. I have trouble remembering names, so please help me out there! I will also need your help in getting to know the New England Conference, as my past ministries were in the Troy and Maine conferences, and I have been gone since they joined with the rest of New England.
Paul and I will be beginning our 25th year of marriage this summer! He has 2 children, Becky in Arizona with her son Karston, and Jacob in VT with his wife Jada and son Jacob. I have 2 children also, Adam who lives in Reading, MA with his wife Kim and my brand-new grandson Lincoln, and Tim who lives in California.
Besides the joy of spending time with our families, we enjoy exploring places we’ve never been, going camping (although we didn’t do that in FL!), watching movies, playing games, and doing a bit of golfing. I also consider myself “crafty” – enjoying knitting, needlecrafts, and some sewing – and I like to play mahjong with friends. I love to shop, and I also try hard to take care of myself and get regular walks in – so I am looking forward to walking to work from the parsonage. I really enjoy cooking but I like to eat out for lunches, and am hoping to find some folks to meet and chat with over lunch in Belchertown. Obviously, I also love music, and my favorite instruments are the piano and handbells.
I am anxious to hear more of who “you” are, what it is that you enjoy, and how you serve God in your community. See you all soon!