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Finding faith in a small town

As a college senior in Texas, the Rev. Lee Williams heard the calling.

Conflicted, he took time to think about the decision before him, searching for an answer, and, in the process, joined the Peace Corps where he spent a year in the Philippines.

But, he continued to hear God calling him to the ministry, and that's when his mind was made up.

"I believe God has confirmed the path for me," said Williams, who recently was appointed to the Marcellus United Methodist Church.

Williams continued his education by going on to earn his Master of Divinity at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Williams also received his Doctor of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Beginning his career in the church in 1986, Williams was given a two-point charge at the southern end of Keuka Lake. The first church he served was in Hammondsport where he remained for 15 years; the second congregation he ministered to was in Mitchellsville for 12 years.

"I work with a district superintendent and they try to make the best match between a pastor and a church," Williams said.

He was then appointed by the bishop to the Wellsville United Methodist Church in Allegany County.

Williams and his family spent seven years in the Southern Tier, building a relationship with his congregation and his community. Williams said the Methodist Church has gone to longer appointments because it helps develop trust between the church and the people that it serves.

"Members of the church are placing their trust in their pastor," he said.

In his third pastoral appointment, Williams, 51, now serves the Marcellus United Methodist Church on Slocombe Avenue in the village. Having been in Marcellus for just three months, Williams said he and his wife, Penny, have received a warm welcome to the friendly community.

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