The Rev. Suzanne B. Burris said a move to South Dakota, with a return to graduate school, is simply a turn in a new direction.
Preparing her last sermon for the congregation of Emmanuel (Baust) United Church of Christ, she said she has a few regrets.
"I have mixed feelings about leaving Carroll County," she said. "I have made good friends here."
Ms. Burris, 50, who has led the Tyrone congregation since April 1993, is entering a doctoral program in guidance counseling and student personnel at the University of South Dakota.
She also will serve as campus minister for the United Campus Ministries of South Dakota.
"This is a new direction for me, and I feel strongly it is what I am called to do," she said.
Ms. Burris said she is looking forward to working with college students and especially with returning adult students. A psychotherapist before she entered the seminary, she said she is interested in any area where she can be of help to people.
"All through the parish ministry, I have simply been helping people," she said. "I'll keep helping. I'm just getting into a new phase."
The pastor will give the liturgy of departure, the sacrament of Holy Communion and her last sermon at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Several pastors, some of whom are retired, will conduct services pTC through the remaining summer months, while church officials search for her replacement. Ms. Burris said she expects an interim pastor to be stationed at the church on Old Taneytown Road within several weeks.
She has assured the congregation that "someone will be providing worship here at 11 a.m. every Sunday."