PARIS — The Rev. Mary Beth Caffey was installed as the 43rd pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Paris Hill on Oct. 28.
The Rev. Caffey began her ministry at the church in March as their interim pastor. The church then called her as their official pastor on July 29.
The Rev. Dr. David Clark, the pastor of the Court Street Baptist Church in Auburn, delivered the installation message. The Rev. Susan Crane lead in the time of commitment between the church and pastor. The Rev. Crane is both the pastor of the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church in Farmington and the Associational Resource Minister for the West Association of the American Baptist Churches of Maine. Robert Federico, the Moderator of the church and Jean Federico, the co-chairperson of the Pastor Search Committee, also participated. Several of the other clergy from the area were present for the service.
Caffey is a native Texan. She is a 1979 graduate of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, and graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1981. She served in Southern Baptist churches in La Pryor, Eagle Pass, Freer, Santo and Waco, Texas, before moving to Auburn in 1984.
From 1984 to 2002 she served in volunteer missions positions in religious education for the Southern Baptists with the Upper New England Baptist Association, the Maine Baptist Association and the Baptist Convention of New England. She also served as the president of the Baptist Convention of New England for two years. In addition to those years, she served as an officer of the state convention which covers the six states of New England for seven other years in a variety of offices.
Caffey has served on national level committees for Southern Baptists and also written several articles for various publications.
In 2002, Caffey began her journey as a pastor. She was ordained and licensed by the Pathway Community Church in Sabattus, which later relocated to Lewiston. This church was affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship based in Atlanta, Ga. She would serve three years on their national Coordinating Council from 2007-09 and as the Moderator for the Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast.
Caffey has now started the process of having her ordination credentials approved by the American Baptist Churches USA and the American Baptist Churches of Maine. She has completed all the requirements and will be eligible for this approval in 2013.
In addition to serving as the pastor of the church, Caffey owns Caffey Trading and is involved with Internet marketing. She is also the Oxford Hills area representative of Visalus, which promotes a weight loss and fitness program and products.
The Rev. Caffey wants to be very involved in the community and hopes that the First Baptist Church of Paris Hill will be strongly involved in the community once again. The local historic societies have met there several times in recent months for lectures about the church, the historic town clock and Revere bell. The Cummings Hall at the church is open for public meetings based on approval.
Most of all, Caffey hopes to begin Bible studies for those not familiar with the Bible.
The First Baptist Church of Paris Hill was established in 1791 and initially met in homes and barns. Their first building was constructed in 1803 and the present building was built in 1838. The bell was made in 1821 by the son of Paul Revere. The clock was given to the church and town by the Honorable Hannibal Hamlin in 1883.
Church services are held at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday. The church is handicap accessible by elevator. Although Caffey is serving on a part-time basis, she is available by phone all week at 754-7970 and firstname.lastname@example.org.