Pastor to leave church for job at group home

May 23, 1994|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

The Rev. Joan Carter-Rimbach says leaving her position as pastor of Union Street United Methodist Church in Westminster fills her with "sweet sorrow."

"It's hard to leave," Mrs. Carter-Rimbach said. "There have been some tears shed around here."

She is leaving to become chaplain at the Board of Child Care, a United Methodist church residential group home in Baltimore County. She will preach her last sermon at Union Street on June 19 and step down as pastor on June 30.

In her new job, Mrs. Carter-Rimbach will be responsible for religious activities and morality issues at the residential home. The program is for youths 8 to 18 who have been placed in the home by the Department of Juvenile Services or the Department of Social Services because of neglect, abuse or other problems.

Mrs. Carter-Rimbach said it is also her goal to "help them become more involved in the community."

"Usually in a home like that, churches are always sending cookies to the children or donating money," she said. "Part of my role will be to help the kids do some outreach themselves."

She also has the distinction of being the home's first black woman and first full-time chaplain.

"I also want to expose them to different cultural events," she said. "About 75 percent of the kids there are African-American. I want to be a role model for them."

It doesn't hurt that she also loves children.

"That's part of the reason I accepted the position," Mrs. Carter-Rimbach said. "I just want always to do things that will help increase their self-esteem and value of themselves."

She said the new post is as big a challenge as when she came to Carroll County six years ago to serve three parishes -- Fairview, Strawbridge and Union Street United Methodist -- at the same time by ministering to each on a part-time basis.

She eventually settled at Union Street as its full-time pastor.

"One of the neatest things for me has been taking this church [Union Street] three years ago from being on a circuit to being a station church and having a full-time pastor," Mrs. Carter-Rimbach said.

She has also been instrumental in the reorganization of Neighbors United, the Union Street neighborhood association. Her involvement has helped to strengthen ties between the church and the community.

"Our relationship with the college [Western Maryland College] has been growing," said Mrs. Carter-Rimbach. "I think there is a better relationship with the police and government officials.

"I think that people now know that there is a church on Union Street, and I would like to think that I had a part in that."

Her new job will be made a little easier by her background in social work. After graduating from divinity school in 1986, Mrs. Carter-Rimbach was director for two years at a girls shelter in a group home in Catonsville.

Mrs. Carter-Rimbach leaves her church with the support of her congregation. It is planning a dinner for her June 26 at Wilhelm Catering in Westminster.

"I hope that I have taught the people to love each and everyone that passes through the doors of Union Street," she said. "I hope that I have taught them what it means to be a church -- that any time we see that there is a need, we help out."

She said she will always have a place in her heart for the 120-seat sanctuary that is Union Street Methodist Church.

"There are special people here, and I will miss all that we have shared, the good and the bad," Mrs. Carter-Rimbach said. "But I have learned and I have grown, and I hope they have too."

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