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Easton Church Welcomes New Pastor

EASTON, Conn. – The Rev. Christine Kim says her knowledge of chemistry is helpful in her work as a pastor. She was named the pastor of Jesse Lee United Methodist Church in July – but studied chemistry for eight years before going into the ministry.

"I like working with people. I found that chemistry gives a basis for understanding how the world works," said Kim. "When elements are working well together, you can create something beautiful – or you can create a bomb and blow up everything."

When working with atoms, Kim said, you have to "believe you're seeing [them]," as opposed to being able to see tangible results working with people.

Kim said she once worked with a young boy who was shy and whose parents were not understanding or encouraging. "He discovered at a youth camp that he is intelligent," said Kim. The boy later became a Sunday School teacher, working to help other kids in similar situations.

Kim also had an experience with an ill woman who had been given six months to live. "I thought I would be doing a funeral service a couple months after she came to me," said Kim. But the woman tried to find healing in her life, Kim said, and is alive four years later.

At Jesse Lee Methodist Church, Kim plans to take time to get to know the congregation and the town.

"I'm hoping to create a country church that is a wonderful place for families to come to," said Kim. "To fill the need for a place to nurture young people to develop as a whole person."

The pastor said she will give a message each Sunday "that will encourage and inspire" and help give direction for the church community. She will also take time to visit members of the church–especially the homebound–and will be on call 24/7 for those in need.

"It's very exciting to be a pastor in the first Methodist Church in New England," said Kim. The church was established in 1789.

Kim and her husband, Walter Stopka, had wanted to bring their daughter to a place where she could grow up and they could create a life for their family. Kim moved to New York from South Korea when she was 10 years old and moved almost 10 times during her childhood. She wants her daughter to have a more stable environment.

Kim and her husband met while rock climbing and hope do get back into that once their daughter–Colette–is a little older. They are also looking forward to the Easton Firemen's Carnival in August and going to the orchards and animal farms in town.

On Sunday, Jesse Lee United Methodist Church will host a welcoming picnic at 11:30 a.m. for Christine Kim.

What do you think about Rev. Kim’s plans for her ministry? Leave your comments below.

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