It was a spectacular bright sunny day when United Church of Marco Island welcomed its new senior minister, The Rev. Dr. Mark Williams, and his family. The installation took place on October 19 at the regular 10 AM worship service of United Church. The participants in the service were Rev. Dr. E. Neil Hunt, recently retired moderator of the National Association of Congregational Churches, who served as both seasonal associate and interim senior minister at United Church; The Rev. Drs. Jim and Sandy Boler, who are currently serving as acting co-conference ministers of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ; and Ron Thompson, associate minister of United Church of Marco Island.
Rev. Williams, who received his Doctorate of Ministry from Mercer University in Atlanta, Ga., comes to us from the Lebanon United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC, where he served for the last five years. His wife, Emily, is a child psychiatrist currently employed at the David Lawrence Center in Naples, and rounding out the family is 2-year-old Nolan, who has been adopted by the entire congregation.
Both Mark and Emily are native Floridians — Mark from Vero Beach and Emily from Naples. Because they are natives and because both grandparents still reside in Florida, Mark and Emily felt a strong need to bring up their son Nolan surrounded by family. When our ad appeared in a church publication both Mark and Emily felt it was the right time to come “back home.”
One of the things that attracted the search committee to Mark was his vitality, enthusiasm and creativeness. To quote one member of the church: “You spend five minutes with Mark, and you leave with a renewed commitment to your faith and lots of creative ideas.”
Mark has said United Church has an enormous group of very gifted and talented people; it is definitely one of their strengths. Another strength of the church that he sees is the Bargain Basket, a thrift store that has been in operation for more than 40 years.
Blue sky, warm weather, and a new family at United Church — a wonderful way to start the season.