Lyons Memorial United Church welcomes new minister

Jeff Hietkamp, United Church council chair, left in photo, welcomes Reverend Mercedes Hughes to Lyon’s Memorial United Church in Gore Bay this past Sunday.

GORE BAY—The congregation of Lyon’s Memorial United Church in Gore Bay welcomed its new minister, Reverend Mercedes Hughes, at a regular service held this past Sunday.

“This is a very special day and I’m so glad we have a big crowd here today,” stated Jeff Hietkamp U.C. council chair at the start of the service.” 

“It is a great day and a special day in the history of our church,” stated Mr. Hietkamp. “We are so glad you are here and Mercedes has moved here from downtown Toronto. She was telling me that it was so calm and peaceful here this morning, she could hear cows mooing. We’re glad you’re here. Welcome.”

“Thank you,” said Reverend Hughes. “It is really wonderful to be here,” she said, acknowledging the gifts and encouragement she has received since coming to Gore Bay. 

Rev. Hughes told the Recorder earlier in the week. “I’m from Toronto, having worked there for 40 years, I decided it was time to get out of town.” 

“The United Church has a process in place, a ‘transferring settlement’ where a minister is matched with a pastoral charge. The United Church put us together,” said Rev. Hughes. 

Rev. Hughes has been in Gore Bay for a  little over two weeks now. “It is really beautiful and very quiet. It is absolutely wonderful to be here.”

“No, I have not served as a minister previously, this is my first church,” said Rev. Hughes. “I graduated in May, and began this, my new career, after I finished an internship.”

Previously, she had worked in a bank setting for many years. “I got the Call,” said Rev. Hughes. “I’ve moved up to the Island myself, my two (adult) children are still in Toronto. I have some family that live in the United States,” she said pointing out, “I have dual citizenship, having been originally from a little mining town in Arizona. So I’m not alien to small town living.”

“I’m really happy to be here in Gore Bay and on Manitoulin Island,” stated Rev.  Hughes. “It is a complete change for me; but it was time for a change. I’ve always loved Georgian Bay and we had a cottage at one time. My move here I feel was meant to be.”
Special music was provided during the service by Sharon and John MacDonald.