Pastor Mary Kathryn Butler-Loring

 

            I am a born in the womb United Methodist and grew up in a parsonage. My father was a retired United Methodist pastor in Indiana and my mother was his partner in ministry. I loved church and loved my family. My growing up years were a great maturing time in my life and my faith.

            I graduated from Monroe Central Jr/Sr High School in Parker City, IN. After high school, I attended the University of Evansville where I earned my bachelor’s degree in music education. I taught off and on for four years while also working at St Joseph United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne, IN. In 1997, I made the move to Grand Rapids, MI and became the Associate of Music and the Arts at Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church. I served in that position for 13 years and it was during those years that I began hearing God’s further call. Also during that time, I became a mother. I have two adulting children, Eric and Sarah. Eric lives in South Bend and works repairing stringed instruments and Sarah attends Grand Valley State University. I have been divorced since June 2021.

            It was somewhere around the birth of Sarah that I began feeling a further call to ministry. It took me a while to feel confident enough to voice my call to become an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and then an even longer time to fulfill that call. I became a candidate for ministry in December 2007, became a licensed local pastor in 2010, graduated from Methodist Theological School in Ohio in May 2014, was commissioned a provisional elder in June 2015, became an Elder in full membership of the Michigan Annual Conference during the virtual Annual Conference in 2020 and was finally Ordained in an outdoor service in May 2021.

            I have served Twin Lake United Methodist Church as lead pastor (2010-2013), Clark Retirement Community as Pastoral Care Coordinator (2013-2017), Jackson Calvary United Methodist Church as lead pastor and Jackson First United Methodist Church as associate (2017-2019), and most recently at Ann Arbor Calvary United Methodist Church as lead pastor. At Twin Lake United Methodist, I was honored to be the pastor who helped the congregation reach out to those living in poverty surrounding the church by leading them to create a community garden. At Clark Retirement Community, I supervised two chaplains, coordinated services for the two campuses, created a care team to supplement visitation, and created a Spiritual Life Committee to help negotiate the transition from the current on-sight chaplain’s model to First United Methodist Church’s, Grand Rapids off-sight model. In Jackson, I led Jackson Calvary to recognize their present reality and advised, supported, and encouraged them. In my position as associate at Jackson First United Methodist, I initiated a spiritual growth plan and had growth in the area of small groups. I also participated in the Vital Church Initiative and was inspired by the dreams that emerged from that process. In both positions, I worked tirelessly to reach out to other United Methodist Churches and other non-profit organizations creating a combined VBS, combined small groups, and combined base camp classes and housing the Student Advocacy Center within the Jackson Calvary building. In Ann Arbor Calvary, I walked alongside a congregation making the tough decision to close so that new life could arise. The church was adopted by Dexter UMC.

            I am a deeply devoted and passionate follower of Christ and understand my mission is to help others to deepen their own faith and to become leaders for Christ in the transformation of the world. May we all live into this essential work of being disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.