While Britt Hemphill just started his role as pastor of children and family ministries at Dungeness Community Church in April, he and his wife Gayle have been a part of the church and community for decades.
Hemphill and Gayle moved to Port Angeles in 1985 where Hemphill served as a swim coach and teacher at Port Angeles High School for nine years. He and Gayle have been part of the church community in the area for many years, but also have a love for travel and helping other communities abroad.
Hemphill said he wasn’t planning on serving as a pastor at Dungeness Community Church (DCC), but now has settled his home and service in the Sequim community.
“This opportunity opened out of the blue,” Hemphill said. “I had a sense that God was in the details of this.”
Hemphill started ministry in 1982 as a volunteer connecting with Seattle street youth and later served as a youth group leader and Young Life leader. He began full-time ministry in 1994 including a 13-year span of teaching and school administration in Papua New Guinea.
The Hemphills previously were part of Independent Bible Church but said DCC staff have known them for many years. Hemphill said he was encouraged by DCC’s commitment to children and family ministry and said his new role as pastor is to assist church leaders and serve children from infants to fifth grade.
“I want to champion and support children,” Hemphill said. “We are there to support and be alongside them.”
Hemphill believes the local church can empower children to become future leaders who will one day impact communities around the world with the Gospel.
He also is involved in the church’s program Celebrate Recovery, a weekly ministry for those who are struggling with or have had an addiction of any kind.
“It’s a great weekly opportunity for people to come and move forward,” Hemphill said.
What separates Hemphill’s ministry leadership from others is that he brings cross-cultural experience to DCC and describes himself as a “globally shaped leader.”
For more than 20 years, the Hemphills have traveled around the globe working and serving in cross-cultural ministry in remote places of the world, such as Papua New Guinea, India, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and more. They have served many roles, from supporting missionaries to providing medical and teaching support to equipping community leaders.
“It has been an amazing opportunity,” Hemphill said of his travels.
Hemphill said his travels have shaped him as a pastor and it was during his time in Zambia and Zimbabwe where he found his passion for putting children at the heart and center of both church and community.
“If they begin thriving as children, they carry that on as adults,” Hemphill said. “Bringing that to our communities and churches will add value to the community (at large).”
One of his goals and philosophy as a pastor, is to add this sort of value to both DCC and greater Sequim community. Hemphill said he was inspired by this focus on children when he encountered ZimZam Global, an organization started in Zambia and Zimbabwe that equips leaders around the world to plant churches beginning with children.
While Hemphill and Gayle have settled their home and service in the Sequim community, Hemphill said they are not done traveling but are thankful to have found the opportunity at DCC.
“It’s a gift for us to be here,” Hemphill said.
The Hemphills’ celebrated 36 years of marriage this year and have two adult sons.
To learn more about pastor Britt Hemphill, visit https://dcchurch.org/index.php.
Reach Erin Hawkins at email@example.com.