Our Pastor

Rev. J. Loring Carpenter

Rev. Loring Carpenter with his wife MaryAnne

Our interim minister was unanimously voted in, and the Rev. J. Loring Carpenter has lost no
time in getting to know our congregation and helping us to know him. His objective, he tells us, is to “serve the Lord as He wills in leadership of and support of His Church, primarily through interim ministry that offers new commitment and energy to fulfill the Great Commission and builds disciples seeking to reflect Jesus Christ in their daily lives. “

Pastor Loring has served six congregations in his 50 years of ministry and focused on interim
ministry for more than 20 years. He is a graduate of Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree; and Babson College where he earned his BS in business administration. His most recent interim ministry was at Rumney, NH, Baptist Church serving a congregation “who sought God’s redirection after three years of difficulty that included a pastor loved through years of dementia and a year seeking to find God’s leader independently before asking Interim Pastor Ministries for assistance.”

He also served as interim head of school for United Christian Academy in northernmost Vermont
“following six years of leadership challenges, dwindling enrollment and a depressed economy.” He
wrote in his résumé: “My ministry allowed healing and new hope for God’s future to prepare for the
new Head of School.” He has been senior pastor at the Congregational Church in West Newbury, MA; the First Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT; Voluntown Baptist Church in Middletown, NY; and Hague Baptist Church in Voluntown, CT. He was director of the year-round Christian camp and conference center, Camp Koinonia in Geneva, OH, owned and operated by three American Baptist Associations.

Perhaps his most interesting work experience was as executive for organizations of maritime
chaplain agencies serving more than 50 North American ports, including the International Christian
Maritime Association, the North American Maritime Ministry Association, and Seafarer’s Friend. When he lists his hobbies, sailing and canoeing are second only to golf. “From birth, involvement in a church was a part of the fabric of family life,” he said as he and his wife, MaryAnne, settled into the Gelston Road, Sherman, parsonage recently. “It is part of the heritage of my parents and grandparents. Both father and mother were leaders in First Baptist Church in East Greenwich, RI, and my mother was a church organist in a variety of churches throughout the state during my high school years. Sunday school and youth group were the fabric of our life; church meetings, study groups, and choir events were regularly held at our home.”

He adds, “There was never a time I doubted Christ’s reality, God’s love. In eighth grade I accepted Him as Savior, along with others in our baptism class. Even at college I tried to maintain a worship life, despite being in a college without any formal religious groups present. It was during my senior year that I mentioned to our pastor that I would not be going into accounting, my degree area, though I was not sure of my next step. When he suggested I consider ministry, my response was a hearty laugh.” But while leading a youth retreat after graduation, Pastor Loring said he spent most of the free time “alone in prayer, sensing more strongly that God had been preparing and was calling me to full-time Christian service. Given my experience and training, I felt it was to Christian camping ministry. In January I entered seminary, studying the Bible intensely for perhaps the first time and looking for God in a new way. That same fall I met MaryAnne. While I was trying to understand God’s calling, she was a local school teacher. We both volunteered at a local coffee house for youth operated by local churches.”

But there was to be more revelation for him: “Understanding what it means to live as a disciple
of Christ did not begin to gain clarity until five years into active pastoral ministry. It was then that a
pragmatic decision to enter ministry grew into a life-call, a journey of ongoing transformation. After
brief small church pastorate, I accepted a call to a conflicted congregation. The struggles encountered forced me deeper into Scripture, and I sought any advice or training I could about how to bring new life to a struggling church. In the midst of a sermon series on discipleship, God clearly and lovingly urged me to consider the fact that if I was to teach about discipleship, perhaps I need to also live it. During the following years, and through a variety of experiences, head knowledge of Christ was transformed into heart-felt passion for Christ. My perspective shifted from religion to relationship – with Christ. He touched my heart (and the hearts of the congregation) in amazing ways as we grew in faith and wisdom together. My life has never been the same, though Christ’s presence and power continues to amaze, challenge, and transform me.“

Contributed by Aimée Suhie.