×

Monadnock profiles: Dublin woman recounts unique path to ministry

  • Dublin resident Traceymay Kalvaitis has been designated as term pastor for the Dublin Community Church and the Community Church of Harrisville and Chesham. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Dublin resident Traceymay Kalvaitis has been designated as term pastor for the Dublin Community Church and the Community Church of Harrisville and Chesham. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, September 27, 2018 10:31AM

Traceymay Kalvaitis’ journey to the pulpit of Dublin Community Church and the Community Church of Harrisville and Chesham is rife with unusual circumstances – by no means the path one would expect of a term pastor. 

Raised a Southern Baptist during her childhood in South Carolina, the Dublin resident admits that she “went far away” from religion in her 20s and early 30s.

It wasn’t until reading a book about the Indian saint Neem Karoli Baba and learning about his desire to hear stories about Jesus Christ that she felt she may have missed something about Christianity the first time around. 

Kalvaitis would return to the teachings of Christ – she has been a member at the Dublin Community Church for eight years now – although she now looks at the teachings and messages “through a different set of eyes.”

“It’s crazy – in some ways, I feel like I can be a better minister because I’m grounded in religion now after questioning it for a while,” said Kalvaitis. “I looked at a bunch of different religions and I chose to come back… if people have questions that’s my favorite. If people don’t have questions, they aren’t thinking.”

A lifetime educator – working most recently as a second grade teacher at Mountain Shadows School in Dublin – Kalvaitis didn’t foresee a church-related career in her future until she began filling in as a worship leader on the occasional late-summer Sunday.

After Rev. Mike Scott retired from the church in June 2017, the search was on to find his replacement. In the mean time, Kalvaitis and others continued to fill in on a rotating basis on Sundays. 

“It was a really new experience for me, something that came out of the blue,” Kalvaitis said. “I found out that I loved doing church work. It wasn’t a burden; it was a joy.”

The part-time pastor position would eventually be combined with a position at the nearby Community Church of Harrisville and Chesham as they were also looking for a part-time pastor. 

Kalvaitis would submit a resume in Jan. 2018 – congregational churches differ from some other models in that a local search committee picks the new pastor, rather than a diocese or other outside group choosing – but didn’t know if her resume would be good enough.

“They have placed a huge amount of trust in me,” Kalvaitis said of both churches. “… I was hoping to get the position although I was acutely aware that on paper, I wasn’t as qualified.”

Kalvaitis is licensed as an authorized minister, but she has not yet been ordained, though she is currently enrolled in classes at New York School of Ministry, a process she thinks will take two to five years.

Kalvaitis has served as the pastor at both churches since Sept. 1, delivering her sermon in Harrisville at 9 a.m. and in Dublin at 10:30 a.m. It has been a great experience thus far, Kalvaitis said, as she has been embraced wholeheartedly by two neighboring communities. 

“It’s been the most incredible experience in my professional life, to be entrusted with being the spiritual teacher of this church community,” Kalvaitis said.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.