The new pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church once thought she would go to the convent — and she is the daughter of a nun.
The Rev. Barbara "Pastor Barb" Barry came to the church on Jason Drive Jan. 28 after seven and a half years at Quickel Lutheran Church in York.
She is a "second career" pastor, but felt a calling since she was 7 years old.
Barry said she is a typical "PK" or preacher's kid. Her father was a permanent deacon, one step before the priesthood, in the Roman Catholic Church. Her mother joined the lay arm of the Franciscans and, following her husband's death 21 years ago, "decided her spiritual path lay in the convent." She is now Sister Mary Mother of Sorrows.
"I realized my path was different than Roman Catholic so I joined the Lutherans," Barry said.
She was a donor resources representative for the American Red Cross in Virginia for a number of years, before joining the Aid Association for Lutherans (now Thrivent Financial Services) as a fraternal specialist, working with churches and volunteers.
"People said, 'I think you have the call,'" said Barry, who went on a seekers' retreat. "At 49, I sold all my earthly possessions and went to Gettysburg Seminary."
When her sister learned of Barry's decision, her response was "it's about time."
She was ordained June 12, 2009, and started at Quickel on June 16, 2009.
"Hindsight makes it clear to me that the trajectory of my entire life set me up for ordained ministry," according to Barry. "Each of my life experiences gave me a different set of skills that have added to my toolbox for ministry."
Barry has two daughters, Stephanie Stell, 35, an English language learners teacher who lives in Strasburg, Virginia, with her husband, Evan, and 17-month-old son, Emmett; and Kristen Pond, 23, of Dover, Pennsylvania, a food services coordinator for a Starbucks distribution center, who is engaged to Corey Hardman.
When her younger daughter left home in August, Barry said, "To be honest to my call as a pastor, I had to be open to the call. After a lot of prayer, I heard the Holy Spirit call me to help here at Trinity.
"It really is a God thing," Barry said. "I left a congregation I loved."
Trinity was served by an interim pastor for 14 months following the retirement of long-time pastor, Rev. William DeHaas.
The congregation of the church at 1186 Jason Drive is "doing a lot of listening ... to each other and to God ... a lot of exploration of what it means to be a follower of Jesus," Barry said. "We want to be a deeply spiritual, welcoming community so we might bring God's love out into the community."
The mid-week Lenten services are focusing on prayer, which Barry calls "communication with God." The Soup and Spirit evenings start at 5:30 with soup and bread, followed by reflection on prayer.
On Sundays, a more traditional service begins at 8:30 a.m. with contemporary-flavored worship at 11 a.m.
Barry said she already has learned "the best kept secret of Trinity is music. We have outstanding musicians at both services."
The new pastor calls herself an "outdoors girl," who enjoys wilderness camping, hiking, gardening and exercise. A voracious reader, she also enjoys hanging out with friends, as well as her cats, Scout and Nelson, while clearly her biggest love is her young grandson.