Larry Gourley, a long-time attendant and later trainee at the (UMC), will serve as pastor of the First United Methodist Church in The Dalles beginning in July.
Gourley’s potential for being a pastor first came to light when he did a dramatic reading from a book called A Brief History of Everything by American philosopher Ken Wilbur at the local UMC and came to the notice of then-pastor Pat Beeman. Beeman told him the church would really like to have Gourley preach. Unsure at first, he finally replied, “Well... OK.” Gourley has since preached at the UMC roughly 15 times.
A couple of months ago, Gourley was encouraged by some of the UMC clergy in the Pacific Northwest to apply for the position of intern pastor for The Dalles First UMC. He was promptly accepted as the next acting pastor. His internship will last from July 1 of this year to June 30 of 2015.
“For several years, this church has been a ‘teaching congregation’ that chooses someone to be their full-time pastor for one year,” says Gourley. In the past, designated pastors have been seminary students (on the path to ordination). Gourley adds, “This is the first time they’ve chosen a lay minister, somebody who hasn’t been ordained.”
Gourley says he’s excited for this opportunity and what it will bring to both the community as well as The Dalles.