Banks, COMMUNITY, News

Pastor Margot Thompson retiring from Banks Community United Methodist Church

After 12 years leading the congregation of the Banks Community United Methodist Church, Pastor Margot Thompson is retiring.

Her last day will be June 30, where she will give her final sermon at the 10 a.m. worship service, be honored with a farewell potluck following that, and then, after more than a decade at the helm of Banks’ oldest church, will depart.

“I preach on the 30th, and then they kick me out,” she quipped.

The next Sunday, her replacement, Pastor Michael Gregor and his wife Nan Gregor will move into the parsonage that adjoins the church and deliver his first message July 7. Thompson has already vacated the parsonage, and will attend a church in Helvetia.

“I love this congregation and I believe they have grown into a wonderful mission and ministry and I believe that can grow. And that’s what I hope for this church, is that their mission and ministry can grow in the Banks area,” Thompson, 74, said during an interview held in the fellowship hall at the church shortly after her second-to-last service June 23.

She preached to a congregation of about 20 people who sat scattered across the pews of a sanctuary that was built before Banks was an incorporated city. It’s the oldest church in city limits, though it draws a congregation from the surrounding regions as well. Their weekly service is streamed online via Youtube as well, a pandemic-era change that has continued, allowing hose unable to attend a service to catch it online.

The Banks Community United Methodist Church. Photo: Chas Hundley

Thompson spoke on the biblical tale of David & Goliath, a story that has transcended its Biblical origins; the phrase “David and Goliath” has become a metaphor in the daily lexicon, symbolizing an underdog facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

During her message, Thompson recounted how she first began her training to enter the ministry. At the end of summer in 1997, Thompson packed up a U-Haul truck and her teenage daughter and set out from Northern California for Wilmore, Kentucky. There, she spent four years earning her Masters of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary. Originally from Indiana, Thompson had already completed her undergraduate studies at University of Washington Seattle, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art, and gaining a teaching credential at California’s Humboldt State University.

She spent her ministry career in Kentucky, California, and New Mexico before her tenure in Banks.

In 2012, she was hired as the pastor at Banks, and moved to the church’s parsonage, where she began the final portion of her career in ministry on July 1.

In her role as pastor, Thompson preaches, performs weddings, baptizes parishioners, leads one of the most sacred rites in the Christian faith, Communion, and more.

The church has a number of ministries, and closely works with the Banks Food Bank, which is independently run by a board, but is housed in a former missionary home adjacent to and owned by the church.

Find more information about the church, resources for those in need, and more online at bankscommunityumc.org.

The church hosts weekly worship services at 10 a.m. at 42451 NW Depot Street in Banks.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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