STARKVILLE — The Rev. Natalie Wolf will take over as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, in Starkville, in December.
The graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, has been serving the church since October. She will be installed at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at the church.
As a youth, she was active in the church, Wolf said during an interview Wednesday.
She received her undergraduate degree from Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina. After graduation she worked at a shelter for homeless women and children.
“I had conversations with friends and mentors who encouraged me to foster a community and help others experience the beauty and love that I have experienced in the church,” Wolf said.
Trinity Presbyterian Church has about 80 people in its congregation, Wolf said. The church’s most recent pastor retired right before the pandemic.
When a Presbyterian church looks for a new pastor, they can post what they are looking for, Wolf said. Interested pastors can apply to a church or be matched to the church. They go through an extensive interview process before joining the church.
“I found out about Trinity and sent my info to them,” she said. “We had a series of interviews and an in-person visit. I fell in love with the church and the people in it.”
One of the things Wolf said she likes about being a pastor is being invited into people’s lives.
“I spend time with people who are widows and widowers and hear stories of their spouses,” she said. “Their memories make them very much a living part of the church community. I appreciate their invitations to their communities.”
Wolf said she enjoys living in Starkville, which is similar to Boone. Trinity is the first church she will serve as pastor.
“It’s a similar setting as far as population size, where half the town is college students,” she said. “I’m really enjoying that familiarity and the energy (Mississippi State) brings to the area.”
Wolf said members of Trinity’s congregation consider the church a progressive bubble in Starkville.
“Trinity prides itself on its ability of balancing being a traditional church and being progressive,” she said. “If you were from another Presbyterian church, you’d be very familiar with what goes on during our services. Our congregation is very active in the community. We are one of the few churches that are affirming to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the community.”
Besides Wolf’s installation as pastor, Trinity will host several special activities throughout December.
Wolf said that she is looking forward to the Blue Christmas Worship Service, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21.
It is described this way on the church’s website: “It’s not always easy to constantly feel the immense joy of the season. We have songs telling us to ‘be of good cheer’ and we are invited to endless parties full of cheerful people. Whether this is your first holiday season after the loss of a parent or spouse; the long nights of winter affect your mood; or you simply need a break to be still and acknowledge the brokenness and hurt around you, join us for this Blue Christmas worship service. It will be contemplative in nature, with opportunities for lament, healing, and hope.”
Other activities for December include:
- 10 a.m. Dec. 4, intergenerational craft and cookie party
- 10:45 a.m. Dec. 12, intergenerational Christmas program
- 3 p.m. Dec. 19, Christmas Caroling
- 6 p.m. Dec. 24, Christmas Eve worship service
- 9:30 a.m. Jan. 2, 2022, Epiphany worship and party