MORRISVILLE BOROUGH >> Wendy Bellis, the pastor of the Morrisville United Methodist Church, is retiring from full-time ministry at the end of June.
Born and raised in Iowa, she grew up in the home of a United Methodist pastor with five siblings.
”Our lives were centered in the life of the church," she said. "So when I was called by God into ministry in my freshman year of college, it was not a shock. However, not knowing any women pastors, I assumed my role would be in the education area of the church.”
As events unfolded, she discovered that her place would be as a pastor and her career began in a small church in rural Iowa.
That was the beginning of 42 years of parish ministry, serving in nine churches in four states in rural, urban and suburban communities.
Pastor Wendy said that her passion has always been to turn the focus of the local church outward into the local, national and global community. She cited as an example participation in many mission trips with the youth and adults of the local churches and traveling to Liberia, where she said she met some amazing people.
“I believe firmly that God created every single one of us to be loved and to love each other," she said. "Working together to build one another up – not judge or tear one another part – is the heart of who we are as Christ followers.”
Working to bring healing and reconciliation in race relations has also been a passion of hers.
As a single parent of two bi-racial daughters for much of her career, she found the church to be a loving and supportive community in which to rear children. She noted that, nevertheless, she and her daughters did experience racial hostility in many of the places she served.
“A dream of mine,” she said, “is to participate in a church where love for each other, no matter our skin color, language, gender, culture, sexual orientation or financial status, wins! God loves us all more deeply than we can imagine – and we are called to live in and share that love with everyone.”
For the past six and a half years in Morrisville, her focus has been on developing relationships with the neighbors and community organizations, “so God’s children can be resourced and loved.”
She noted that the Morrisville United Methodist Church is the most diverse congregation she has ever served, and that Morrisville Borough is the most diverse community in which he has ever lived.
“I hope,” she said, “my legacy here in Morrisville is the continued development of these relationships, bringing together people of different nationalities, languages, and cultures.”
Pastor Wendy will be moving to the Poconos where she and her husband have a house, and are looking forward to less commuting and more time to feed the deer and watch the squirrels taunt their cat through the windows.
“I look forward to serving a church part time in retirement and to continue to live with the local church at the center of my life,” she said, “and working alongside others in our command to love God with everything we have and love each other with the amazing love that God has shown to me.”