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Trinity United Methodist Church welcomes new pastor

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
The Rev. Jena Finch-Manchester stands on the balcony of her new church, Trinity United Methodist Church. She comes from a three-point charge including St. John’s United Methodist Church in Mapleton.

Trinity United Methodist Church welcomed pastor Jena Finch-Manchester on Wednesday.

And while many avoid switching jobs or relocating during a pandemic, the Rev. Finch-Manchester has taken it in stride at a unique time as ministers navigate their changing pastoral roles.

In formal ministry for about 15 years, Finch-Manchester comes from a three-point charge leading congregations in the small western Iowa communities of Mapleton, Ticonic and Anthon.

While small, she said her churches “did some mighty ministry” there.

“The things we do aren’t always driven off of numbers,” she said, stressing that all are welcome at Trinity to hear God’s message of love.

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
The Rev. Jena Finch-Manchester, the new pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, started Wednesday.

After climbing the corporate ladder for 20 years, the pastor said she knew she had to fulfill the calling that had been tugging on her heart for years. At 18, she denied the vision she saw of herself preaching.

“I was more comfortable cooking, cleaning, delivering meals — hands-on ministry that way,” she said. “But this vision of preaching totally freaked me out.”

So she pushed it down as persistently as it reappeared over 20 years and pursued what she thought was “the American dream,” striving for the white picket fence as she stayed connected to the church.

But after she climbed that ladder in various Fortune 100 companies, working as a computer programmer and analyst, she knew there was more to life.

“I knew I needed to answer that call,” Finch-Manchester said. “There’s more to life than this corporate stuff.”

With a scripture-based message of hope and love, she wants show Trinity how the Bible still holds significance and meaning today beyond being a test written long ago.

“I want people to know they are loved and that we’re meant for community,” she said.

While she can’t physically meet all of her congregation just yet, she looks forward to connecting with them, hearing their stories and helping people find their passion to serve Christ. As a pastor, the role of shepherding a congregation has evolved in light of COVID-19, where preaching is done virtually as pastors look to protect the health of their parishioners perhaps more than ever before.

Finch-Manchester said that all information from experts is taken into consideration — and together, in prayer.

“The one thing that separates a church from every other organization is our connection to God,” she said. “We can make decisions with our head or our heart, but we need to make sure they’re based in prayer.”

She’s thankful that Trinity, set up for virtual services over Facebook and YouTube since March, was turnkey ready upon her arrival. She wants her new congregation and those thinking about joining at Trinity to know they’ll be safe and loved.

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