Perham, Dent UMC welcome new minister
“When you look at the positions I’ve held, people might say, ‘Gee, you’ve had a lot of different jobs,’ and I say I’ve had one job my whole life: I’ve been a teacher my whole life – I just keep changing the subjects I’ve been teaching about,” said Jerry Bass, the new minister at the United Methodist Churches in Perham and Dent.
Bass has been an elementary teacher, a superintendent, and a professor at Oklahoma State University and the University of North Dakota.
Throughout his time in the education field, Bass was involved as a layperson in various Methodist churches, and in the late 1990s, he estimates, he preached in roughly a dozen churches per year.
In 2000, he attended a church retreat, where a series of experiences convinced him to serve the church in a full-time role.
“That call to ministry was, ‘quit treating this as a hobby,’” he said.
“If you sense God’s calling, you don’t argue too long,” he added, noting that he was in a ministerial position by 2001.
As a minister in Perham and Dent, his responsibilities will include preaching on Sunday mornings, visiting people in the hospital and nursing homes, and other duties – “all those kinds of settings where people need someone to visit and give pastoral care,” he said, pointing out that pastoral care goes beyond physical health issues.
“Pastoral care includes being available to people in the congregation with any of those issues that we go through – any kind of marital difficulties to the challenges of life. Sometimes people need somebody to visit with them,” he said.
His community involvement won’t stop there, however.
“I expect that I will be meeting every month with fellow pastors here in Perham. I hope to set up some regular coffee times with United Methodist pastors in the area,” he said.
In addition, he believes he’ll be a fixture in the community outside of the Methodist congregation.
“Because of my background in schools and education, I imagine people will see me at sporting events and other school activities. I’ll try to attend concerts and plays. I anticipate getting a membership over at the community center, so I’ll get some exercise and meet some people as well,” he said.
Bass believes his background in education informs his preaching style.
“I rarely preach from notes and I never preach from a manuscript,” he said.
“I like to take the scriptures and retell the story in a way that makes sense to the people today. I guess that’s my teaching background,” he said with a smile.
Jim Ebert, a Lay Leader at Perham United Methodist Church, said “there is genuine excitement by the members of the Perham United Methodist Church and the members of the Dent United Methodist Church after two weeks of the Reverend Jerry Bass leading our worship services. Both churches are looking forward to his leadership with enthusiasm.”
A ‘welcome’ service will be held at the Dent Methodist Church at 9 a.m. on Aug. 4, with a brunch to follow.
“Everyone is welcome to join us,” Bass added.