WATERTOWN — Trinity Episcopal Church will welcome its new rector when she gives her first service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Rev. Molly Payne-Hardin, a Florida native, said she was excited to serve the church and looked forward to fostering new relationships in the community. Trinity, 227 Sherman St., named the Rev. Ms. Payne-Hardin as its new rector in March.

“I think there is potential for some great ministry here in Watertown,” she said. “It’s a privilege to have been called to Watertown.”

The Rev. Ms. Payne-Hardin previously served as the associate rector and curate for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Panama City, Fla.

Her work with the congregation included helping launch a laundry, growing children’s and youth ministries and assisting its recovery from Hurricane Michael, according to Trinity. She was ordained in 2017, but had been involved in ministry work beforehand.

Prior to becoming a priest, the Rev. Ms. Payne-Hardin worked in public service in the public relations field. She worked for the Florida Department of Health and for the executive office of the governor for former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles. She said she wants to use her communications background toward building relationships and showing how the Christian faith can support people during times of celebration and tribulation. The Episcopal Church, she said, “affirms and includes all people.”

“We are excited about everything about her coming in,” said churchwarden Charlotte A. Bach. “She’s been a very welcoming person, and I think that’s what we need in Watertown.”

The Rev. Ms. Payne-Hardin’s appointment concludes the two-year interregnum that began when Rev. Richard Laribee left Trinity in 2017. Rev. Barb Schmitz served as interim rector after the Rev. Mr. Laribee’s departure.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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