Peggy Glick wasn't sure how she would be received at Pine Grove United Methodist Church where she was initially assigned as a part-time pastor. The divorced mother of two was the congregation's first female minister.
She shouldn't have worried. The Rev. Dr. Glick, 65, just retired after 25 years leading the small Parkton church, making her the longest serving minister in the church's 124-year history.
She said goodbye to the congregation on June 22 while introducing them to the new pastor, Andrew Greenwood.
"I've been preparing them for the past 15 years that I was going to leave," she said several days after her farewell. "But it still seems unreal. It's bittersweet."
She described her approach to church services as laid-back and casual, saying, "God doesn't care what you wear to church, just that you go."
In her first five years as pastor, Glick saw the congregation double from 50 to 100. Today, 120 people attend services on special days such as Christmas and Easter, while 90 attend most Sundays.
Glick said she is most proud of the Food Bank she helped establish at Pine Grove about 15 years ago. It now feeds 95 families a week, and more at holiday times. A recent addition of a Clothes Closet provides used clothing to children and adults.
"This is a very giving congregation," she said. "All I have to do is send out an email that a local family that needs something, and it's done. They do it eagerly."
During her tenure, the Pine Grove Early Learning Center moved from the church's education building into its own facility. It now serves 173 children and all classes are full.
Glick has moved into an apartment in Westminster and will still perform weddings and officiate at funerals. She will also continue to preach once a month at Edenwald Retirement Community in Towson.
Pastor Andrew Greenwood, his wife, Amanda, and two cats are now settled in the parsonage across Middletown Road from the church. She is director of Youth Ministries at Westminster United Methodist church.
Greenwood, 29, has a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., but has not yet been ordained. He is a 2007 graduate of Shenandoah University in Virginia where he majored in music.
"I always thought I'd be a music teacher, but I went to a United Methodist college and the more I learned about Methodist theology, they more I wanted to go to seminary," he said.
He plays piano and tuba and was happy to see that Pine Grove already has a strong choir and Praise Band.
Before coming to Pine Grove, Greenwood was a full-time pastor at Emory United Methodist Church in Upperco and a part-time pastor at Severn United Methodist Church in Severn, Md.
He and Glick both joked about their differences, noting that he's as quiet as she is loud.
"I hope to bring good preaching here," he said. "I have a different style than Peggy. I look forward to Bible study and maybe even looking into doing a missions trip."
Greenwood held his first church service on July 6.
"This is an exciting time for our church," said Joanne Gerwig, a Pine Grove member for 17 years. "Peggy is a compassionate and caring person and now we have another caring person. We are very, very blessed with both."