LIVERMORE FALLS — After nearly two years with an interim pastor at the pulpit, the congregations at First Baptist Church, 25 Church Street, and Moose Hill Freewill Baptist Church, 30 Record Rd., welcomed Forrest Genthner as their new full-time pastor Sunday, March 3.

“It is very exciting to have our own pastor again,” said Larry Gile, First Baptist Church trustee. “We have been working with interim pastor Dr. Glenn Miller of Bangor since pastor John Hall left us more than a year and a half ago.”

Genthner and his wife, Molly, currently live in Lewiston. They will move to the parish house by the end of the summer, they said.

Forrest Genthner has a life-long relationship with the church and God. His mother, Reverend Dr. Cathy Genthner, was the minister of his childhood church. Despite feeling a calling to the pulpit several times, he said he resisted.

“I always thought I would be a history teacher,” he said. “I was first called when I was very young but felt it was my mother’s calling, not mine.”

Again, he received the calling in high school. “I was filling in at the pulpit for my mother who was undergoing chemo treatments,” he said. “Again, I passed it off as my mother’s calling, not mine.”

In 2015, while serving as the Christian Education Director at South Freeport Congregational Church, he again received the calling. The calling persisted, he said, and, in 2016, he entered the seminary.

Forrest and Molly were dating at the time. “I told Molly if she wanted to get off this ride, that was her chance,” he added.

The couple was married six months ago, he said.

After seminary, Genthner led the Sebago Lake Congregational Church in Standish as interim pastor. He also worked as a substitute teacher at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish and Lewiston Public Schools.

Genthner credits Reverend Dr. Susan Crane, pastor of Henderson Memorial Baptist Church in Farmington with leading him to Livermore Falls. “She said there was a church looking for a minister and that I might be interested,” he said.

He met with the search committee and congregation several times. “We all felt the call for me to be here,” he said. “Molly and I are really excited to be here.”

Genthner and the trustees have set goals for the church, he added. These goals include working on youth programming, community outreach, visitations and worship service. “I’ve already started reaching out to community leaders to see if there is a need the church can help with,” he said.

His suggestion of hosting a community lunch during Lent was well received by the trustees, he added. Lenten Lunches will be held at First Baptist Church on Fridays March 8 through April 19. The free soup and bread lunches will be held at the church at 11 a.m.

“Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”,” he said. “We are planning to have more events where two or more can gather in order to promote the sense of family. We are a family in the body of Christ. It will be good if we can gather as a family during the week outside of worship service.

The church covenant says we are open to all, closed to none,” he added. “Anyone in the community is welcome here.”

Sunday worship service begins at 8:45 a.m. at Moose Hill Freewill Church and at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church. To reach Genthner, call First Baptist Church at 897-2656.

“I am looking forward to working with the church to see how we can grow in Christ and in the community,” he said.

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