BATAVIA – After 41 years in the ministry, Batavia United Methodist Church Pastor David Newhouse is getting ready to retire.
Parishioners as well as community members will have the chance to wish him well during a retirement celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Peg Bond Center on the Batavia Riverwalk, which is at Houston Street and North Island Avenue. He will leave the church at the end of June.
“It’s time,” Newhouse said. “There’s been a lot going on with this church in the last two years, and it’s helped me realize that maybe my transitioning would help them to take off in a new, good period of time in their history, and I wanted to help that to happen.”
Newhouse, 60, who began serving churches in 1973 as a sophomore in college, started at Batavia United Methodist Church in 2012 after the departure of the Rev. Michael Stoner, who had been at the church for 17 years.
Stoner now is lead pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Yorkville.
Dan Van Haften, who has been a member of Batavia United Methodist Church for more than 20 years and is the chairman of the church’s staff-parish relations committee, believes that Newhouse has been “very good for us during this transition.”
Van Haften said he will miss Newhouse’s sermons.
“I did enjoy his sermons,” he said. “I think they were very theologically sound.”
On July 1, the Rev. Cynthia Anderson will become the new senior pastor at the church. She is currently the associate pastor at the Barrington United Methodist Church.
Newhouse said he thinks she will be a good fit for the church.
“I think she’ll give exactly the kind of leadership that is going to be needed for this congregation to move forward,” he said. “I think she will be a community leader as well.”
During his time at Batavia United Methodist Church, Newhouse oversaw the establishment of a second campus, Flowing Grace, in Aurora. Earlier this month, Flowing Grace became its own congregation.
“One of my responsibilities was to help them put themselves together to be an independent church,” Newhouse said. “They have now been chartered as a new United Methodist church.”
Newhouse said he will miss the ministry.
“I’m clearly going to miss the constant opportunity to be offering pastoral care, to respond to people in their times of need and to offer them spiritual help, spiritual guidance,” Newhouse said.
He won’t be totally retiring from the ministry, however. Newhouse will be moving to Michigan, where his daughter and son-in-law are United Methodist ministers.
“They have been encouraging me not to just sit some place and rot, but to come and be a part of the church that they’re serving, so I know I will have the opportunity to respond to people’s needs and to give some leadership,” Newhouse said.