Fayette couple appointed to United Methodist leadership posts
As a college graduate who majored in biology, the Rev. Beverly Spore said her perspective on faith is a unique one.
“Having a science background made me more open-minded to the fact that there has to be a God,” said Spore, who was recently appointed pastor of the Indian Creek Valley United Methodist Charge, which includes Calvary United Methodist Church, Mt. Salem United Methodist Church and Davistown United Methodist Church.
“I specialized in anatomy, physiology and molecular biology; just knowing the details of how a body works, how a cell works ... none of that could have ever happened by accident,” she said.
Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in 1996, Spore was hired at Concurrent Technologies in Johnstown, where she worked for 11 years as an environmental and occupational health safety representative.
Spore, a native of the Friedens/Stoystown area of Somerset County and a graduate of North Star High School in Boswell, lived much of her life free of the need to seek organized religion, she said.
“Even though I knew there was a God, I felt I could be a good person on my own and be fine,” Spore said.
In the late 1990s, Spore humored her mother, Jeannette Dunmyer, and began sporadically joining her at her place of worship, Mostoller United Methodist Church in Stoystown, where she first encountered the Rev. William Blair, she said.
“I knew he was talking about something that I needed to hear more about — having a relationship with Jesus Christ,” she said.
In 1999, Spore joined the Bethany United Methodist Church in Johnstown.
“While I was there, I grew in the faith and became convinced that Jesus died on the cross for me,” she said. “I was convinced that it was my responsibility to make sure more people learned about this. That is what I would say was my calling to full-time pastoral ministry.”
Blair said Spore acted as the master of ceremonies at his 40th birthday party in 2001, an event organized by her mother, who ran the pastor parish relations committee.
“She really did well,” he said.
In her spare time, Spore began taking lay courses in 2001 and, in 2002, she began taking seminary classes online, she said.
By 2006, Spore's faith grew to the point that she made the decision to resign from her job and attend Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., to pursue a master's degree in divinity, she said.
“While there, I studied under some of the greatest theological minds in Methodism,” Spore said. “I took Greek and Hebrew, various types of Bible studies, theology, preaching, church history and Methodist history.”
In 2008, Spore earned the degree and began a five-year period of service as pastor of a three point charge centered in Townville, Crawford County, within the Erie Meadville District of Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, she said.
“During that time, I was approved by the board of ordained ministry, and I was ordained a full elder in 2012,” Spore said.
Following the June retirement of the Rev. Paul Freidhof after 14 years of service as pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Saltlick, Spore was appointed to her current station of service by Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who leads about 900 clergy and more than 800 congregations in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference.
“We serve at the good will of the bishop. Even though I was sad to be leaving parishioners up north, it felt very much like homecoming to me,” she said.
In step with Spore's reappointment, her husband of four years, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Spore, was appointed as pastor of the nearby Otterbein United Methodist Church in Connellsville following serving an interim appointment within the church's Erie-Meadville District.
“With clergy couples, that's pretty common, as it pertains to reappointment. Every once in a while, one will stay put, but basically, they try to keep you fairly close together,” he said.
Blair, who today is superintendent of the Connellsville District of the United Methodist Church, said he is proud to see where God has taken Spore.
“Any time you get to plant seeds and get to see some fruit ... I just consider myself to be very fortunate,” he said.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.