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STAFF PHOTO/BROOKE WILLIAMS Pastor Jean Blackie recently took over in Factoryville and Dalton United Methodist Churches.

Pastor Jean Blackie felt called to ministry through her work in environmental science.

While working with groups of people attempting to solve environmental problems, she felt a “strong spirituality.”

“I think I had this hidden call to ministry that I might have had even from childhood,” said the Philadelphia native, who moved to northeast Pennsylvania 22 years ago. “Working with people in that area made me feel a sense of spirituality in groups of people.”

This led to her studies at Drew Theological School within Drew University in Madison, N.J., in 2000.

Following her completion of seminary school, Blackie underwent a yearlong clinical pastoral education at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem before becoming a United Methodist pastor.

After most recently spending three years in Moscow United Methodist Church, Blackie has recently began a new journey in United Methodist churches in Factoryville and Dalton.

While her work in environmental science has taken a backseat, she still incorporates environmental ideals into her sermons, such as the need to care for God’s creations, managing resources wisely and sharing resources with others.

“There’s a strong call for us as people of faith to do that,” she said. “The presence of God is so real to us when we’re out in the world, in creation, and the beauty of it and the quiet of it and the strong sense of being one with nature is really being one with God.”

The new pastor was unfamiliar with Factoryville and Dalton before her appointment in their churches, although she had a good feeling about relocating when friends with connections to these towns spoke positively of the area.

Joining her in the move as her husband, Bill, an ordained Presbyterian minister.

“It’s a beautiful area. I’m just getting to know the history of it and it just seems rich with culture and natural beauty and friendliness,” she said. “The church has had a long history of faith and ministry in the community too.”

Last Sunday, July 7, was the first day of serving her pastoral duties in Factoryville and Dalton, where she received a warm welcome from both congregations.

“I hope that I can be here for a long time and that we can have a very fruitful ministry, reaching people, sharing God’s love,” Blackie said.

Going forward in Factoryville United Methodist Church, she also hopes to embrace its motto: A family of believers who worship and serve joyfully and love and share abundantly for the glory of God.”

Pastor Blackie finds “great joy” in sharing her faith with others of all age groups, as well doing as mission work to help those in need, and she looks forward to getting to know people in Factoryville and Dalton through her ministry.

“It’s a great privilege to be with people and their families at the important moments of their lives. At the birth of a child, baptism, confirmation, marriage, good times and bad times throughout their lives and at their deaths,” Blackie said. “These are special moments in life and as a pastor you’re really privileged to walk with people during those times and experience God’s love with them.”

Factoryville United Methodist Church hosts its weekly worship with Pastor Blackie on Sundays at 9 a.m., while Dalton United Methodist Church worships at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Blackie at 570-878-9069 or jblackie@susumc.org.