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Pastoral assistant's life is full of firsts

May 11, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - Doris Doub said her role as pastoral assistant at St. Paul's Lutheran Church is a first for the church, and the latest of several firsts for her.

"It seems that everywhere I've been in my clerical career, I've been the first woman," Doub said. "Always I have been well received - here and elsewhere."

Doub said her job differs from that of assistant pastor, which she said would be a full-time position.

As pastoral assistant, her duties include preaching one Sunday a month and splitting the duties of visiting and administering communion to homebound parishioners with the Rev. Darrell Layman, pastor of the church.

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"I schedule at least one hour with each homebound member so we can have a really good visit," Doub said.

She said the visits are an integral part of the communion experience and can be uplifting for people unable to leave their homes.

St. Paul's, which has an older congregation, has about 40 members who need services taken to them for a variety of circumstances.

In addition, Doub assists Layman during holiday services such as Lent, which involved a number of midweek services.

"I cover in the pulpit when Pastor Layman is away, too," she said.

Doub said she is comfortable with the clergy in the area since she grew up in Washington County and previously served as pastor of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Clear Spring.

"There is a very good rapport between pastors in this area," she said.

As evidence of that, Doub said she often is called to speak in other area Lutheran churches.

A Williamsport native, she began her life as Doris Thomas at her home church there, Zion Lutheran. She and her late first husband, Bill Doub, had four children, and she has five grandchildren.

Her current husband, Oble Yoder, is a retired lay ministry professional.

Doris Doub graduated from Hagerstown High School in 1951, the oldest of seven children.

Although she wanted to go to college so she could become a teaching missionary, she worked instead for two years before heading to Towson State College

After two years in school, she got married and transferred to Shepherd College, triggering a rather busy period in her life that included teaching school at Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown.

"We were raising children, farming 500 acres and I was going to school in between children," Doub said. "My first husband was also into Luther League and 4-H."

After her husband's death, Doub decided she would again try to fulfill her desire for a career in the ministry. She met Yoder and married him while she was in seminary.

"My first call was to the Scalp Level Lutheran parish in Windber, Pa.," Doub said.

Later, she served a church in Newry, Pa., for seven years before returning to Washington County for her stint at the Clear Spring church.

She came home to Williamsport and built a little house where she and her second husband live.

All of Doub's children and grandchildren live close enough that visits are fairly regular.

While her pastoral assistant position isn't full time, it gives Doub the contact she needs and enjoys with her church and community, she said.

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