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Succeeding as a successor
The Rev. Bill Green, 56, is finding that Trinity United Methodist Church members practice what their faith preaches.
Green started July 1 as pastor in Sequim and gave his first sermon on July 10. He describes his style as a people-person, storyteller who preaches without notes. After one Sunday no one ran away or quit the church, he joked.
“This is a very warm, welcoming church,” he said. “I find this to be a good place to be.”
Green requested a transfer to Sequim after seven years as a pastor in Bellingham. He admits to a long desire to live here after falling in love with the area on visits to his brother Floyd Green, now a retired pastor, who served his first assignment in Port Angeles.
Green follows The Rev. Bill Gordon, who served in Sequim for four years until his retirement in June.
Green has found the church desires continuity with the change in leadership.
“They didn’t just want to chuck everything out the door (of) what Bill Gordon did,” he said.
One thing Green intends to carry over from past churches is an effort to grow younger. His Bellingham congregation is similar to Sequim’s in that it’s mostly retirees. He said volunteers started children programs but it took a number of years to establish them.
“It isn’t magic,” Green said. “A lot of families in their late 20s and early 30s begin thinking about instilling values in their children. We offer a less judgmental approach and allow questions and answers. This is a place you can come and feel welcome.”
In his tenure, he’s found Christianity sometimes has a perceived judgmental stigma but in his United Methodist churches it’s the opposite.
“Some say we’re not doctrinal or we’ll believe just about anything and miss the point of the gospel,” he said.
“In the West, churches are more progressive and we’re more friendly to the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender community, too. We believe all are welcome. We live out our social change.”
Positioning a pastor
Green has been a United Methodist his whole life, having been born into a Methodist parsonage: His father was a pastor.
Early in his life, Green made the decision not to go into the ministry because his father and brother went into it. He had a pastor encourage him to do it, but Green felt no pressure from family.
At 17, Green was given a license to preach by the United Methodist Church, but before pursuing the ministry full-time he went to school for business administration at Central Washington University, where he met his wife, Jenny. His intent was to become an accountant.
“I began to realize I need to make faith and people work,” Green said. He later received his Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo., the same as Gordon.
He feels his administrative skills and experience from business school come as an advantage for the church.
“People might not realize churches are a small business,” he said. “We have 80 people serving on different committees and I need to make sure funding for programs is OK to keep volunteering going strong.”
Trinity is his sixth assignment, following stints in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, for six years; Montesano for six years; Connell for two years; Moscow, Idaho, for nine years; and Bellingham for seven years.
The past 16 years he’s been leading and/or directing college campus ministries. He felt a desire to move away from campus ministry because he found it to be a young man’s ministry.
In his nearly 30 years of being a minister, Green said the excitement hasn’t waned.
He’s excited to be in Sequim and knows about its lavender background and that people love to retire here.
“It’s exciting to come into a community reshaping itself a bit,” he said. “It has a thriving arts community, which we both enjoy thoroughly.”
Green said he and his wife like to sing and play hand bells in the church, too. The Greens have three grown children: One daughter and her daughter live with them.
About Trinity United Methodist
Trinity United Methodist’s Sunday contemporary services are at 9:30 a.m., with children and adult Sunday school at the same time. Classical/traditional services begin at 11 a.m. Vacation Bible school at Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m. July 18-20. Ongoing Bible studies meet at 10 a.m. Mondays for women and at 7 a.m. Tuesdays for men, with breakfast served.
The church serves a free community dinner at 6 p.m. the last Thursday of each month. The next dinner is July 28. To reserve a dinner place, reach Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 Blake Ave., at 683-5367 or email@example.com between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, July 25-27.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.