Hatcher will be missed

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, February 10, 2018

The loss last week of Main Street United Methodist Church’s beloved pastor, the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher, is a loss that will be felt throughout the city.

Anyone who knew Pastor Myrtle knew that being in her presence was a calming experience. She spoke softly and was a warm and welcoming soul. As her husband said on Friday, “She saw ministry as hospitality, and any opportunity to deliver and promote hospitality was right up her alley.”

Hatcher lived that out by getting the church to participate in the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk, a network of two dozen Suffolk churches working together to help the underprivileged in our community. The organization runs the Night Stay Program, in which Main Street United Methodist Church has been heavily involved. The program welcomes homeless people for nighttime shelter and meals during the winter and makes a big impact.

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Hatcher also pitched in and did whatever needed to be done around the church, never waiting a second for someone else to do something she could do herself, even though she was the pastor.

Hatcher became famous for her sweet potato ham biscuits, pies and cookies, another way in which she lived out her philosophy of hospitality.

Hatcher was the first female pastor and first black pastor at Main Street United Methodist Church, a historically white congregation. “She taught us to see the world from a different perspective,” church member Barbara McPhail said Friday.

It’s safe to say that downtown especially, but also all of Suffolk, will miss Hatcher following her passing on Thursday, but we know she leaves an example for all of us to follow as we move forward.