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Area pastors carry out mission

By Staff | Nov 17, 2010

Food, electricity, adequate housing and good transportation – these are comforts that most Tyler County residents take for granted. However, manyfamilies who reside within the countywould not beas fortunate without the generosity of an organization that is fully dedicated to the ministry of helping others.

The Sistersville Area Ministerial Association has carried out the mission of helping their neighbors for years. Until recently, this work was completed under the direction of Rev. Gary Boyd, pastor ofthe Friendly United Methodist Church. With his recent death, the remaining community-minded members of pastors and laypeoplehave combined their efforts to ensure that Boyd’s good work continues onward.

“Gary Boyd was instrumental in helping the Ministerial Association start and flourish in Sistersville,” explained Rev. Bill Dawson. A native to this area, Boyd has served many roles and was essentially the Ministerial Association’s “go-to guy.” When a person needed assistance, he was the guy to see. “He knew most of the families and their ‘economic situation’.He had a deep love for the people of Sistersville, and he had adeep love for the place that he called home.That pride was evident when he spoke about Sistersville and what this town and its people meant to him,” Dawson said. “Gary will be missed by everyone involved within the Ministerial Association,his congregation at Friendly United Methodist Church, and the people of Sistersville.”

Aside from his duties with the association, Boyd also served his colleagues in the area by promoting unity among the churches and the pastors. “Gary was very ecumenical and welcomed the new pastors to town.WhenI was appointed as pastor of Sistersville First United Methodist Church, Gary was the first colleague I met.The moving trucks had not even turned the corner yet,and Gary Boyd was in front of the house to welcome me and my family to Sistersville.I learned very quick that Gary had a great sense of humor and a wonderful personality.Gary became a great friend and colleague to me.He introduced me to manyof the townspeople and told me some of the history of Sistersville,” Dawson said.

At the association’s most recent meeting, the pastor’s celebrated Boyd’s life and his ministry. The remaining members prayed for Rev. Boyd’s family and those touched by his death. They also prayed for the community and the work thatthey plan to accomplishthrough their joint efforts within this area.

In keeping with the association’s vision, they appointed new officers. Rev. Dawson will take the helm as chairman, and Rev. Dennis Shirer will serve as vice-chair, with Rev. Colleen Griffith as treasurer, and Mary Ann Worst as secretary.

The Ministerial Association is gratefulto all people who have donated money, food and/or their time to assist the group as they continue to serve the community. For example, the Area Ministerial Association recently received a donation of non-perishable items courtesy of food drives conducted by Cub Scout Pack #153 of Sistersville and by Sistersville Elementary School. The association isvery thankful for the donation of these items, especially during the holiday seasons.

To further accomplish their holiday goal, the Ministerial Association is currently seeking monetary donations from the community. These funds will be applied to vouchers to serve the needy within the Sistersville and Friendly areas.Vouchers will be dispersed based on family size and need. Residents who have applied for assistance in recent years will need toreapply again. The application deadline is Dec. 10. Vouchers will be filled out bymembers of the Ministerial Associationon Dec. 14 and mailed to those who applied.All needs and monetary donation amounts will be kept confidential.

Donations can be submitted to the Sistersville Area Ministerial Association, c/o The Tyler Star News, P.O. Box 191, Sistersville, WV 26175, or dropped off at the newspaper office, which is located on the corner of Charles and Wells Street in Sistersville. They can also be mailed directly to the Sistersville Area Ministerial Association, P.O. Box 64, Sistersville, WV 26175.

Applications for vouchers can be picked up at the Tyler Star News office as well.

When the Sistersville Area Ministerial Association is not focused on theholiday seasons, they offer assistance in other areas such as prescription assistance, emergency transportation assistance, rent and utility assistance and transient lodging. They also offer food assistance courtesy of the area food pantry. The pantry, which is located in the Rectory of the Catholic Church, is staffed by representatives from area churches. Food is distributed once a week by appointment. Those in need should contact an area pastor for assistance.

Area churches also come to the association’s aidby collecting non-perishable items for the community. These churches include: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, First Baptist Church of Sistersville, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, First United Methodist Church of Sistersville, Sistersville Church of the Nazarene, First Presbyterian Church of Sistersville, First Christian Church, Friendly United Methodist Church, the Lighthouse Community Church and Hope Fellowship Church.

The organization also plans to host the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, slated at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the Sistersville Church of the Nazarene.

A Community Advent Service has been planned for Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Sistersville. Candlelight caroling will be held prior to the service. Those who wish to participate should meet at the church at 6:30 p.m.