CARTHAGE — Area churches are seeking new pastors after two clergy members recently left the area.
Thomas Sherwood, former pastor of Long Falls Baptist Church, Carthage, and who also preached at the First Congregational Church of Deer River, and the Rev. Edward J. Murphy, the former rector of Shared Episcopal East which incorporates Grace Episcopal Church, Carthage and Trinity Episcopal Church, Lowville, have both left the area to be nearer to family members.
“Joan and I have enjoyed some very productive years in Carthage,” said the Rev. Sherwood. “But recently we came to recognize that the time is right for us to make a move.”
The Sherwoods have relocated to Erwin, Tenn. to be closer to their son and daughter and to be “Nono and Pawpaw” to their grandchildren who are 3 and 9 months.
The Rev. Sherwood said Erwin was where both his parents were born and are buried.
“In fact, some portion of my family has lived there for five generations,” he said. “So, it’s kind of like going home.”
After pastoring a church in western North Carolina for 13 years, the Rev. Sherwood came to Carthage in November 2007 to become pastor of Long Falls Baptist Church. In December 2007, Mrs. Sherwood was hired as house manager of Brook Haven House, a Christian maternity home on State Street, Carthage, and continued in that role until the ministry closed in 2015.
“Joan is from the Carthage area, and we were blessed to be able to spend the last few years of her mother’s life with her,” the Rev. Sherwood said.
During his time in the north country, he served for six years as moderator of the Thousand Island Baptist Association and three terms on the Executive Board of the Baptist Convention of New York, as well as consulting with a number of Southern Baptist churches in the state. He also served as president of the Village Ecumenical Ministries.
“In 2009, I promised Long Falls Baptist Church that, if they would begin working toward having a building of their own again, I would stay with them until that dream became a reality,” said Rev. Sherwood. “In April 2018 that dream did finally take root in the new church building on state highway 126.”
In Tennessee, the Rev. Sherwood has taken a job delivering auto parts and is providing pulpit supply when needed.
A new season has begun for the Rev. Murphy and his wife, Susan, who have relocated to Romulus. The Brooklyn native said he is retiring now, “because, as the Franciscans say, my work here is done.”
He will not be completely done with preaching since he will continue to celebrate Sunday services at various churches in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier.
The Rev. Murphy served in Carthage and Lowville for 17 years and at St. Paul’s in Constableville for three.
He was a teaching assistant in the Carthage Central School District for 21 years after teaching at St. Peter’s School in Lowville for 10.
Prior to that he was a Cooperative Extension agent in Lewis County for six years. He and his wife, plan to travel — “to see kids in NYC and Indiana and snow birds to Florida this winter.”
He said it was “wonderful working with all the churches, Stone Soup, BreakingChains and all the ecumenical services.