RAVENA – There’s a new pastor in the pulpit at Grace United Methodist Church, fondly known locally as “the church on the hill.”
Pastor Kim Krause has replaced Pastor David Smith, beginning her tenure in July. Smith had been retired before coming to Grace UMC, and served as the interim pastor for some time.
But now Krause has taken over leadership of the church, after being appointed by Bishop Mark Webb from the Upper New York Annual Conference.
Krause is a former math teacher from Bethlehem High School and has been an ordained Methodist pastor for the past nine years. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s in education, and a Master of Divinity.
While Krause said she enjoyed teaching, she felt a calling to do something else with her life. She had been very involved with her church as a lay person, performing with the church choir, as a youth group leader, and playing hand bells – she is an avid musician – and in other capacities.
But she felt she needed more.
“A few people began asking if I had ever thought about becoming a pastor,” Krause said. “The pastor asked ‘how it was with my soul,’ and I knew it was restless. I had been teaching for 12 years and it was a job I loved, but the restlessness didn’t go away until I responded to what God was calling me to do.”
The revelation came as something of a surprise.
“I never thought I would like preaching. Finding your own voice and your own style takes time,” she said.
Krause attended the Andover-Newton Theological Seminary, and eventually began her work as a pastor by splitting her time between the Waterford and Melrose United Methodist Churches. She later moved on to preach at Waterford and Clifton Park, which were later merged to become the Living Hope United Methodist Church. That was her last pastoral appointment before coming to Grace UMC in Ravena.
“I want to get to know the congregation and the community,” Krause said of her new position. “I encourage the congregation to get out of the building more often and be more active in the community.”
Krause said she wanted to encourage her congregants to use the different “gifts and talents” they have for the betterment of the church and the community. For instance, a new group geared to young people is being worked on right now.
“We have people with a passion for youth, and there is a community youth group several people in the church started a couple of months ago. That is something I would like to see continue,” she said.
Krause said she would also like to see congregants “live the mission,” by taking on good works such as helping people in need through the food pantry at St. Patrick’s Church, helping clothe the poor, caring for widows – following the gospel of Jesus, she said.
Other longstanding programs at the church – such as the Book Nook and the Bargain Shed – will continue.
“If people are in need, they open the doors to them. It’s not about money – it’s about finding ways to connect with the community and allowing those in need to have dignity,” Krause said. “Just handing out to those in need doesn’t build them up.”
As soon as she stepped foot in Grace UMC, Krause said, the community was warm and welcoming.
“They made me feel very welcome from the beginning,” she said.
One personal passion Krause would like to implement at the church is music – and incorporating it more into her sermons and church services.
“Music is a passion of mine, and sometimes I work lyrics into my sermons, and often the lyrics are scripturally based,” Krause said.
She said that above all, she wants Grace United Methodist Church to be viewed by both the local and surrounding communities as “a place of grace, and a place of welcome.”