Discovering Dryden: Pam Carey: Getting to know DUMC’s newest leader


It is my pleasure to introduce you to Katie Perov, who will be sharing the good news in her new column “Discovering Dryden.” Her column is aptly named, as she is new to the area, just as I was not so long ago. As a young mom, blog writer, and fellow book lover and Southworth Library staff member, Katie brings fresh eyes to our precious town and the goings on here. Katie and I will stay in touch as she discovers Dryden and writes about town, so share your great finds with either of us at - Cathy Wakeman

Reverend Pam Carey is the newest leader of the Dryden United Methodist Church. I met with Reverend Carey in her office to discuss her journey to becoming a pastor and her experience of joining the Dryden community.

Carey first felt the call to ministry as a teenager. At that time Carey attended a conservative Baptist church with her family in Long Island. Despite what she felt she was destined for, Carey dismissed her intuition because of her shy nature and the fact that there was nowhere for women in the ministry at that time and place. She went on to study at Ithaca College, marry, and have a family. Carey enjoyed a 36-year career as a Physical Therapist. During her years as a therapist and raising her children, that call to the ministry never left, and Carey spent much of her time serving her church. After her youngest child had left for college, during a conversation with her Pastor where he encouraged Carey to pursue her calling, to go to seminary, Carey’s path changed; “And that was the turning point,” she explained, “because I couldn’t ignore it.”

Carey attended Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and graduated in 2013. She’s spent time ministering to various churches, enjoying the different communities and cultures they minister to.

Having taken her place at the Dryden United Methodist Church this year, Carey enjoys the thinking and consideration of the people of Dryden. “I love the spirit of cooperation here,” Carey explained. She enjoys the community involvement with environmental issues, and community activities, like tree and flower planting. She enjoys the active Southworth Library and town events like the Election Dinner held at her church last Tuesday, and bake-off’s, and places like the Dryden Community Cafe, that bring us all together. “There are people really working at trying to heal some divisiveness by doing things together.”

As the first female minister for the Dryden United Methodist Church, Carey expressed feeling welcome both by the church community and town of Dryden, explaining that this is one of the most welcoming communities she has lived in. This warm and welcoming spirit is a wonderful part of the town’s history, one of which Carey is glad to be a part of.

Coming up, Pastor Carey is looking forward to the Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service in which she’ll be partnering with other church leaders. This will take place on Sunday, Nov. 18 at the First Presbyterian Church of Dryden, at 7 p.m. She is also in the process of planning a Blue Christmas service ministering specifically to those finding it hard to find happiness during the holidays, happening on Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Dryden United Methodist Church at 7 p.m.

Congregations Join for Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service
The earliest recording of an Ecumenical gathering in Dryden is in a Tompkins County rural newspaper archive dated September of 1961. Though 57 years have passed since that printed invitation to the community, the tradition of togetherness in Dryden is still alive and strong. This year we can embrace our long history of gathering in gratitude with the Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service.

The term “ecumenical” means cooperation among people of the Christian faith. Pastor Virginia Coakley of the First Presbyterian Church of Dryden, Reverend Pam Carey of Dryden United Methodist Church, and Pastor Larry Cleek of the Covenant Love Community Church and School are working together to bring their congregations and the Dryden community together for this event. The service will include music, scripture, prayer, and a short meditation. As the job of leading the service will be shared among the various church leaders and laity, attendees will enjoy the variety and faith of other members of the Christian community. Perhaps most special of all, congregants will have the opportunity to expand their own communities and worship together.

According to Carey, this service is a very connecting tradition. This is a time for congregations to worship with other congregations and their leaders to blend different worship styles. Here in Dryden, the preferences of worship vary from extremely traditional to very contemporary. Finding a style that suits all attendees is a challenging but rewarding experience. Carey most looks forward to the variety that Ecumenical services offer. She enjoys “not being the one doing all the talking,” and having the time to sit, to listen, and to worship with the others.


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