By Torri Singer
LITTLE SILVER – Embury United Methodist Church welcomes the Rev. Dr. Grace S. Pak as their new pastor.
Pak, who was ordained in 1995 and has served churches for almost two decades, says she first experienced the love of God when she was just 12 years old. It was at this age that she realized she would commit her life to serving God.
Pak has served three churches prior to coming to the 49 Church St. church. She has been at the Knowlton United Methodist church by the Delaware Water Gap area, Union Village United Methodist Church in Berkeley Heights and Bishop Janes United Methodist Church in Basking Ridge. She received Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Drew University, Madison.
“I believe mission happens in our backyard as well as faraway places,” Pak said.
Some current mission work at Embury includes youth groups that travel to New York state to help repair the homes of low income families and the elderly.
Pak is looking forward to the new projects ahead for the church. Embury will join with the United Methodist Churches in the New Jersey to engage in a mission project called “A Future with Hope” to help rebuild more than 500 homes devastated by Super Storm Sandy.
“Many people right in our backyard in Sea Bright and other nearby communities have suffered a lot of damage and need help and hope to rebuild,” Pak said.
The church also plans to help fight malaria in Africa through the mission project and will raise funds for nets to protect children and adults from mosquitos that carry the disease.
“Further away from our immediate area, it doesn’t take much for us to realize that there is so much we can do to make a difference in the lives of others,” Pak said. “God has blessed us with much so that we can share.”
Pak who has been described as a very creative pastor with the ability to make worship relevant in today’s world, says she recognizes that people connect with God in different ways, whether visually, through music or through touch.
“When I design and prepare worship, I always keep in mind that everyone needs to meet God in some ways and try to include as many of these different means as creatively as possible,” Pak said. “I also love to use drama and arts in worship.”
Looking ahead, Pak is excited about the opportunity to build relationships with new people in the congregation and community.
“I can’t wait to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves as we live into that plan of God,” Pak said. “One thing for sure is that it will be God-sized – huge.”