Work will carry on

Published 10:04 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Rev. Richard Meiser has the big shoes of the diminutive Rev. Myrtle Hatcher to fill.

Meiser recently became the new pastor of Main Street United Methodist Church, a position left vacant by the unexpected death of 72-year-old Hatcher back in February.

Hatcher, short in stature but large in giving and spirit, left a definite impact on the congregation and community in her comparatively short seven years here. Hers was described by family members and parishioners upon her death earlier this year as a ministry of hospitality. She was found working in the kitchen just as frequently as she was seen preaching behind the pulpit, and the way she lived her life and carried out her ministry was a reminder of how Christ and the early church valued hospitality to others.

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With her mark made and her calling to the church complete, the United Methodist Church had to make a choice in her predecessor, and it seems Meiser will be a fine replacement.

Meiser, 55, has spent the last 16 years in campus ministry in Farmville, serving both Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College. He told a reporter recently that he enjoyed working with that age group.

His first career was at Newport News Shipbuilding, while he was also working young adult ministry on the side at a United Methodist Church in Hampton. That was where he first felt the call to ministry.

He since has obtained the necessary education and served as pastor of three different churches, at the same time, in Mecklenburg County. He did that for five or six years, preaching three services in less than four hours every single Sunday.

Meiser said he’s excited to lead Main Street’s 200 to 250 worshipers every Sunday and participate in the church’s community partnerships, including with the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk, the Boys and Girls Club, ForKids, the Salvation Army soup kitchen and others. The church is involved in international work through Friends of Barnabas Health Care for Children in Honduras, a charity started by another former United Methodist pastor in Suffolk, Linwood Cook of Magnolia UMC.

We welcome Meiser to Suffolk and are confident he will do a fine job. Hatcher can never truly be replaced, but the work of the church can carry on.