|86 milestones later, “I’m just a minister.“|
Some members are pillars of the church. In Pat Gamble-Hovey’s case, make that many pillars. Pat, who marked her 86th birthday on January 9, has long helped shape the growth and mission of both Holladay UCC and the wider United Church of Christ.
In 1958 Pat arrived at what was then a community church in Holladay — soon to be affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Her first marriage ended in divorce; she raised a family of 5 while pursuing education and a professional career. Her second marriage, to Jack Hovey, ended with his death in 1984.
From Tokyo to Holladay
Pat became a lay minister in 1975, and then a commissioned minister in 2002. Those titles were dropped about a year ago. Now Pat refers to herself as “just a minister.” She has touched the life of HUCC in many ways. While serving on the board of UCC World Ministries, Pat visited Japan where she met the artist Sadao Watanabe. His works (above) now grace our narthex — purchased for $25 each (Watanabe paintings are worth considerably more today).
Comfort amid pain
Pat graduated from Westminster College via an individual education plan designed to equal a formal seminary program. From 1980 to 1984 Pat was at University of Massachusetts-Worcester for graduate study. As a clinical social worker, she helped cancer patients practice mindfulness. She took her skills to Primary Children’s Hospital from 1984 to 1988, where her teaching of mindfulness helped young cancer patients endure painful treatment with minimal discomfort.
While in Massachusetts she served as board chair of the Massachusetts UCC conference, and helped lead adoption of an Open and Affirming resolution — which was then passed by the General Synod in 1985. At Holladay UCC, Pat was instrumental in the congregation’s decision to become O&A in 1998. When she became a commissioned minister in 2002, her special ministry was outreach to LGBTQ. Pat notes with pride that every church in the Intermountain Association is Open and Affirming, and she helped the O&A cause at all but two of those.
“HUCC has been the most significant factor in shaping who I am as a person and a ministry leader,” she says. “Holladay has been my birthing place as a leader in the UCC.”