Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, August 2, 2018
Stonington pastor to divide time between two churches
by Faith DeAmbrose
For the past decade, the Reverend Stephen York has been behind the pulpit at the Stonington United Methodist Church. He has helped the island community in times of need and will continue to be the face of the church even as he takes on a new role that will take him off island. Recently named as the new pastor of the Elm Street Congregational Church in Bucksport, York will divide his time between the two churches.
To accommodate the dual role, the Sunday service in Stonington has moved to 4 p.m. during the summer months and 2 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time. The Sunday service in Bucksport will be held at 10 a.m. year-round.
The idea of being a pastor for multiple churches is not new, said York, noting that as churches face a decline in membership, sharing a pastor is one of the ways a church can remain viable. “It gives both churches an opportunity to have a seminary trained minister without having to bear all of the costs of it all,” he said.
York has been a minister since 1972. He has a master’s degree in Divinity and is working toward a PhD, which he plans to receive in 2019. He and his wife, Catherine Ring, recently moved from Stonington to be closer to the Bucksport church where York will keep an office.