AC23 Recap: Preachers' Aid Society Luncheon

About 230 attended the 2023 Preachers' Aid Society Luncheon. See more photos in the gallery at right

June 07, 2023

New England clergy gathered on Wednesday, June 7, for the annual luncheon hosted by the Preachers’ Aid Society of New England (PAS).

The lunch celebrates clergy transitioning to retirement, those marking the 50thanniversary of their ordination, and those who will be ordained as elders at this Annual Conference.

PAS Executive Director Wes Palmer remarked that he was pleased to see that the attendance numbers have rebounded after COVID. There were 230 attending. 

“I know folks are seeing friends they haven’t seen for some time; it’s just wonderful to make new connections around these tables with so many of the individuals we’ll be bringing up front this afternoon,” Dr. Palmer said. 

Some of those are the new ordinands. Board of Ordained Ministry Co-Chair Rachel Fisher said, “The Board is looking forward to so much about this meeting, but certainly the highlight for us this year is the provision member and full member recommendations that we are making to you.”

She invited the eight provisional members and nine full members in the 2023 clergy class to stand and be recognized. 
New PAS board president, Liz Dallas, welcomed everyone on behalf of the board. She greeted the ordinands and retirees, noting that many who retire continue to serve churches.  

“It’s a pleasure to be here celebrating with you,” she said. Dallas also recognized Paul Parks, past president, for his “sense of confidence” that “yes, we’re going to be here in 196 more years.”

Offering her greetings and the blessing for the meal, was Bishop Peggy A. Johnson.

Bishop Johnson said: “Wow. Look at all you. This Preachers’ Aid Society really rocks.”

“What a party; and it recognizes the sacrifice and ministry and mission of hundreds of people,” she said. “So my hat goes off to all of you, who represent hundreds of years of ministry and the new folks coming forward to pick up the mantle and bring the church into the next century. What a joy to behold. It fills my heart with hope – even in these crazy times we’re living in. The church is in good hands because we stand on the shoulders of all those who have worked so hard in the past.”

The bishop, who is retired, said she’s looking forward to visiting the PAS community Wesley by the Sea this summer. “I might like it so much, I might have to stay,” she joked.

After the meal, it was time to announce the Blaine and Lois Taylor Fellowship Award honorees. The Taylor Fellowships are awarded to retired clergy; they were begun in 1995. (Learn more about the Fellowships). The luncheon also includes the Lifetime of Discipleship Award. There was no honoree this year. 

The 2023 Blaine and Lois Taylor Fellowship Awards are for $9,500 each. Brothers Rev. John Taylor and Rev. Herb Taylor presented the awards on behalf of their mother, Lois, 91, who was unable to attend. This year’s recipients are:

Ralph Howe served in the former Troy Conference for many years including Adamant and Plainfield, Northfield, Hedding, and Barre, VT. He completed his service in Pittsfield, MA. In retirement, he has been serving the church in Brattleboro, VT.  Ralph has also served for many years as the chair of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration. Ralph will use a portion of the fellowship to travel to sacred sites in Ireland, Scotland and England. The other portion will support a community interfaith walk for peace and reconciliation in Brattleboro, VT.

Gary Nettleton served in Boston, Quincy, Norwell and Somerville, Massachusetts as well as in  in Enfield, CT. Gary and his wife are residents at Wesley By the Sea in Wells, Maine. Gary will be using the fellowship to explore estuaries and visit National Parks in the Western U.S. He also hopes to visit Egypt, the Nile and Turkey.

Gary Shaw served in Amesbury, Lynn, Chelmsford and Needham, Massachusetts. Gary also served as District Superintendent in two different districts. Gary will use the Fellowship to install a walk-in shower in his home.  

David Williams served in Portland and Presque Isle, Maine. He completed his ministry in Enfield, CT. David will be using the fellowship to take a trip to Great Britain to explore castles, abbeys, cathedrals and their history.

To be ordained
Maylis de la Fe-Rodriguez
Ashley Michele Benner Murphy
Kate Galop             
Jordan Marcel Harris 
John Herbert Domingo Lucy
Bumshik Min
Alicia Vélez Stewart
John Brooks Whitley
Welcomed from another denomination                                                    
JongWook Hong
50 years
Linda J. Campbell-Marshall
Mark A. Goad
Charles G. Hartman
George L. Hodgkins, Jr.
Harold R. Hurlbert
James L. Martin
William C. Trench
Wendy E. Van Orden
Clinton Brake
Jacquelyn Brannen
Federico Carmona
Sue Davidson
Joseph DeGrande
Lynn Euzenas
Patricia Miller Fernandes
Donald Hegeman
Althea Jackson
Young Hwan Joseph Kim
Garland “Chico” Martin
James Mello
Karen Munson
James Shook
Robert A. Stewart
Cheryl Stratton
Joseph Wilson