Pastor Don Ford

Pastor Don Ford

By Marcy Stamper

The Methow Valley United Methodist Church will have a new pastor with a particular interest in small, rural churches and in community outreach starting July 1.

Pastor Don Ford comes to the Methow from Pagosa Springs, Colo., where he has been pastor for 15 years. Ford was previously at another Methodist church for seven years, according to Juli Reinholz, the district superintendent for the Seven Rivers District, which covers much of Eastern Washington.

The church reviews assignments for all 240 churches in the region on an annual basis and makes new appointments to fill open spots, starting with replacements for retiring pastors, said Reinholz. While the final decision rests with the bishop of the Pacific Northwest Conference, the church hierarchy consults with pastors and representatives from each congregation to make the best match. They look to fill the mission of each church and the “gifts and graces” identified by the congregation and by each pastor, said Reinholz.

Ford and Reinholz met with the Methow Valley church’s personnel committee and had “a great conversation,” said Reinholz.

Ford replaces Mike Lawson, who has been at the Methow Valley United Methodist Church since 2012. Lawson will be in the Methow at least through mid-June, said Reinholz, and then will begin an assignment in Lewiston, Idaho on July 1. All pastors throughout the country make the switch on July 1. Ford will be moving to the Methow with his wife, Barbara. They have grown children who live on their own.