Ceremony for Rev. Notis on Sunday
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, September 10, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Patrick Cronin photo]
HAMPTON -- It's been only two months but the Rev. Steven Notis said he already feels at home as the new pastor for the United Methodist Church in Hampton.
"I love it," Notis said. "It's a wonderful community and a great church. People have been so nice and welcoming."
Notis took over for the Rev. Carroll Moore — who retired at the end of June after leading the church for the last 15 years.
He will be officially installed as the new pastor this Sunday with a reception to follow.
Prior to coming to Hampton, Notis served as pastor at Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church in Maine and for the last nine years at the Old South United Methodist Church in Reading, Mass.
For Notis, coming to Hampton is like a homecoming of sorts because grew up in near the beaches in Southern Maine.
"So for me to be back by the water is just great," Notis said.
He and his wife, Deb, recently relocated to Newburyport, Mass. with their two college-aged children.
Alex is a junior at UMass and Ted is a sophomore at Bridgewater (Mass.) State College.
In the last couple of months, he's been getting to know the community.
Notis said he's been going to a number of homes in the neighborhood, meeting with parishioners.
"It's just a way to get to know them and what the church is about," Notis said. "It's also a way for them to get to know me."
Notis said he's been preaching for 25 years.
He earned his master's in divinity from Boston University and his doctorate from Bangor Theological Seminary.
But it wasn't his initial path.
"Believe it or not, I wasn't raised a Methodist," Notis said. "All four grandparents were immigrants and were all Greek Orthodox."
Notis said he became involved in the Methodist Church while he was in college majoring in political science.
"I began asking the deeper questions that were not really about politics," said Notis.
"I wanted to know what is the purpose of life," he said. "Why are we here? What's a good life? What can I give myself to and not feel betrayed by?"
Notis said he found the answers within the church.
When he's not working at the church, Notis said he enjoys cycling, kayaking, running, and spending time with his family at Coffee Pond in Maine.
His favorite television show is "Mad Men" and says he has a wide taste in music.
"I love jazz, rock 'n' roll, alternative rock and classical," Notis said. "I also have kids who listen to a lot of rap in the house and some of that has rubbed off on me as well."
Notis said his goals for the church are the same he had at his last church.
"I would like the church to grow both in spirt and numbers," he said.
A big part of that, he said, is defining programs, events and classes that help people with their spiritual growth and formation.
"Everybody has spiritual needs," he said. "People need to have a sense they are a part of something bigger in their life. That their life has meaning and purpose."
Notis said the church is open to anyone and hopes people will stop by and say hello.
"We are open and everyone is welcome to be a part of the community," he said. "Our motto is 'open doors, open hearts, open minds' and we really try to practice that here."