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Jon Hughes has been at the Molalla church for about a month and has been handling the challenges as they come

A new face has been doing the Lord's work at Molalla United Methodist Church since the first of July.

Pastor Jon Hughes started at the congregation on July 1. Hughes is a recent graduate of the Tliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree.

"Coming into a new pastoral charge in the middle of a pandemic has been very strange," he said. "Our church facility is closed — we are governed by our bishop who has required the closure, but we're also aware that we have a pretty vulnerable population. That's made meeting people and doing the work of the church pretty challenging."

The church, he added, has also been very active in supporting the community, with a weekly community dinner as well as numerous drives to support community initiatives, such as school supplies, a clothes closet, supplies for local food banks, underwear drives, and stuffed animal drives, etc.

COURTESY PHOTO JON HUGHES - Pastor Jon Hughes and his family. They are settling into new lives in the Molalla area."All of that has come to a halt as well," he said. "We're trying to figure out ways to continue to serve while we have to do it from afar."

Hughes said he couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome to his new congregation. The church debuted its first online worship service on July 15 through its Facebook and Youtube channels.

"We have just started doing prerecorded online worship services — a full service every other week with a recorded meditation on the alternating weeks," he said. "That has been fun and a new way to share a worship experience together, even when apart. I'm hopeful the pandemic will start to ease and we can start to do live worship again. In the meantime, we'll just keep thinking of ways to be creative."

Hughes grew up and lives on Portland's west side with his family. He is a lifelong Christian and also works for a local health care organization.

He is present in Molalla two days per week. This is his first ministry appointment since graduation from seminary.

For more information, check out the church website at molallaumc.org. Information on the church's Facebook page and Youtube channel are available on the website as well.


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