New pastor promises to continue forward-looking tradition

Rev. David Vergin and his wife Mary outside Langley United Methodist Church. Sunday’s service will be their last before retirement.

It’s déjà vu for Rev. Mary Boyd, who will have a homecoming of sorts when she becomes new pastor of Langley United Methodist Church in July.

She held the same post for six years at Coupeville United Methodist Church, from 2001 to 2007.

“I’m happy to be coming back,” Boyd said this past week. “The island is a beautiful place.”

She replaces Rev. David Vergin, pastor at the Langley church for the past 13 years, who retires next week. Sunday is his last service.

He and his wife Mary, a staff member at the church, plan to retire in Bellingham.

“It’s a wonderful community to live in and work with,” Mary Vergin said Tuesday. “We’ll miss it on every level.”

Boyd, 63, is a Western Washington native with more than nearly 20 years of service in the Methodist Church.

Born in Tacoma, she grew up in Washougal, a small community along the Columbia River in Southwestern Washington.

She graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma with a bachelor’s degree in religion, then attended the University of Hawaii, receiving a master’s degree in library studies.

After working for a while as a librarian and church liturgical artist, she returned to her religious studies, graduating from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in 1989.

She went on to Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. and received a doctorate in biblical studies before becoming an ordained Methodist minister in 1991.

Boyd served as minister at a Methodist church in Pacific, a small community located between King and Pierce counties, and spent a year at a church in Bellevue before coming to Coupeville.

Since leaving Coupeville, she has been pastor of University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle.

Boyd and her husband, Stephen, a systems engineer for the Boeing Company in Everett, have two grown sons, Eric and Adam.

She said she and her husband still have a cottage in the Central Whidbey area, and they’re both looking forward to re-establishing ties to the island.

Boyd said that while her reassignment to Langley came as a surprise, she couldn’t resist the chance to come back to the island, and to a congregation so open to world affairs and inclusiveness.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “Langley’s full of good people who are interested in social justice.”

“I love the sense of community on the island,” she added. “Langley’s a small town — not a small town in attitude, but a small town in caring.”

Boyd said she and her husband will move into the parsonage of the church at Third Street and Anthes Avenue. She’ll conduct her first service on Sunday, July 10.

“I’m not sure what my first sermon will be yet,” she said. “I should, but I don’t.”

Boyd, a textile enthusiast, also said she can’t wait to get involved in that scene on the island.

“I quilt and weave and spin,” she said. “Whidbey is a wonderful place for that.”

Meanwhile, the Vergins are credited with bringing stability and growth to the church in their 13 years at the helm.

They’ll especially be remembered for the infusion of music they brought to Langley, their efforts to promote inclusion and new ideas, and for helping to push the congregation past the 300-member mark. They also have encouraged the use of the church’s facilities as meeting spaces for the broader community.

“Although the church will be 110 years old this year, it’s a very forward-looking church,” Mary Vergin said. “It’s a wonderful community to live in and work with.”

The congregation showed its appreciation of the Vergins with a special community concert and reception at the church earlier this past month.

David Vergin said his official parting thoughts on Sunday will include “some personal words to the congregation and a message of closure and blessing.”

Then it’s off to Bellingham, where the Vergins have children and grandchildren. David Vergin said the couple has no definite retirement plans, but travel is a definite possibility.

“Mostly we’re going to take some time to relax,” Mary Vergin said.

Boyd promised to try to continue the church’s tradition.

“I plan to come in and get to know people, and to hear their stories,” she said. “So much of this is really going to be wonderful.”