Emmanuel United Methodist Church Bids Farewell to Pastor Jalene Chase By Rick Bergmann
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
June 12, 2021, was the first time that members of Emmanuel United Methodist Church got together in person since March 17, 2020. The occasion was bittersweet for the members of Emmanuel because, while it was nice to be able to see their friends face to face, it was time for them to say goodbye to their beloved Pastor, Jalene C. Chase.
Pastor Chase joined Emmanuel in July of 2018 she was immediately loved by the congregation. She was a compassionate, loving, caring, and funny leader. In the Methodist tradition, Pastors are itinerant, which means they are appointed by the bishop to the churches they serve and that they can be moved at any time. The average length of an appointment is 7 years but that isn’t always the case. Emmanuel is saying goodbye after just 3 years.
During the pandemic Pastor Chase worked tirelessly with her staff and volunteers to keep the church running virtually. She instituted Sunday worship services through Zoom as well as weekly check-ins on Thursday evenings. The Zoom worship services gave her congregation to meet each week and to interact with one another. When there were older members of the congregation who may not have been comfortable with Zoom or who may not have had a computer, she reached out to them and either helped walk them through the Zoom process or explained to them how they could join the services by telephone. The Thursday check-ins were a time each week when she could just hold conversations with her members, check in on how their lives were going and pray with them.
During her time at Emmanuel, Pastor Chase invited community groups such as Beltsville Community Cats and UpStage Artists to use the building. She sought out community partnerships for Emmanuel. Her time was brief, but memorable.
June 12 was a wonderful day as the members of Emmanuel shared stories and a few tears with Pastor Chase. They were able to give hugs for the first time in 15 months. The sun was shining, the temperature was moderate, and everyone was both happy and sad at the same time. Emmanuel will miss Pastor Chase, but they will never forget her. They wish her all the blessings in the world at her next appointment, Goshen United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg.