New pastor joins First Presbyterian Church

The Session of the First Presbyterian Church has hired The Rev. Janice Howe of Hillsborough as its part-time stated supply pastor. Howe fills the vacancy left by the death of The Rev. Peggi Boyce, who died in January 2012.

Howe and her husband, The Rev. Dr. Peter Howe, recently moved to Hillsborough from Alstead, where she served for 18 years as pastor of the Third Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ of Alstead. Howe is pastor at the Washington Congregational Church.

Howe was active in the community of Alstead, where she was a key figure in helping the town recover from a devastating flood on Oct. 8 and 9, 2005, when the town and surrounding areas received seven inches of rain in a 30-hour period. Her church became the spiritual and disaster support for the town. The flood killed four people, destroyed 18 homes and caused major damage to dozens more.

She led her church in providing assistance to the community and wrote a guide book for churches responding to disasters in their communities. For her flood recovery work she received two Governor’s Awards.

Howe, or “Jan” as she likes to be called, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., in 1981, and her Master of Divinity degree from the Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Mass., in 1988.

Howe says, “As a pastor, I see my role as helping the congregation flourish by living out their mission statements, and listening to the holy spirit as it works in their midst. I help others to discover their gifts, and use these gifts to carry out God’s ministry in their community. As a result, my leadership is one of inspiring others, being a supportive presence, and a resource for them. I am an active listener, available and approachable.”

The Presbyterian church’s search for a new pastor has taken the Session almost a year and a half. In the interim, church elders and other members of the congregation along with other Presbyterian ministers, including the Rev. Howe and her husband, Peter, have conducted Sunday morning services and other church activities.

She says she is “energized by sharing with children during worship, visiting with people in their homes, hospitals and nursing homes.” She adds, “I am looking forward to meeting people and welcoming people back to church. I know this is summer but I hope people will join us on Sundays as we journey together on our faith journeys.”

She said, the Antrim church “is an amazing faith community of elders and members who have worked hard listening to the spirit without consistent pastoral leadership these past 16 months.”

Howe and the Session invite everyone to church services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays to welcome the new pastor. She can be contacted through the church office at 588-2209.

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