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Pastor's first year was rewarding

July 22, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Pastor's first year was rewarding



In her first year as pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, the Rev. Yvonne Mercer-Staten has accomplished many of her goals, both personal and professional.

In May, she attained her doctor of ministry degree at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C. Two years earlier, Mercer-Staten earned her master of divinity degree and was ordained a deacon in the United Methodist Church at the National Cathedral.

Mercer-Staten lives in Hagerstown and is joined on weekends and holidays by her husband and teenage son, who live in Rosedale, Md., while the youth attends St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Md.

Expanding the church with a growing membership and ministries has greatly involved Mercer-Staten in her first year.

When she first arrived, Mercer-Staten said she wanted to engage the church and community in "experiencing the power and presence of God moving and operating in the lives of God's people in the church and the community."

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Other improvements have also come in the first year, some more down-to-earth.

Since Mercer-Staten arrived last July, the carpeting in the sanctuary at 155 Jonathan St. has been replaced.

Church member Carolyn Brooks said there are efforts under way to obtain the boarded-up building next to the church and build an educational facility there.

Mercer-Staten's call to the ministry came after years of her being involved in a very different kind of career.

Her last position prior to attending seminary was a manager of international contracts for a major defense contractor. In that position, she directed an international contracts and proposal division in foreign sales of heavy ordnance equipment.

She traveled the world extensively, conducting proposal presentations and contract negotiations with representatives of foreign governments' ministries of defense and procurement.

But the call to the ministry was strong.

"God has blessed me with many gifts. Teaching, preaching and caring ministries are high among other God-given attributes," Mercer-Staten said.

Sunday school at Asbury is at 10 a.m., with the worship service at 11.

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