Camillus Pastor Heather Williams is a mother, friend, consoler, listener and an example within the Immanuel United Methodist Church community. Her journey has been long and it hasn’t always been on a quick or easy path, but Williams has been truly fulfilled and content as the churche’s pastor for the past three years.
“I grew up in the United Methodist church,” Williams said. “I always thought my pastor had the best job. As a young girl, I didn’t see any female pastors and I grew up in a predominately Catholic area so there was no way I could be a church leader.”
Her teen years were like any other teenager at that raw state, carefree, adventurous and just coming into her own.
“I wasn’t perfect,” Williams said. “I wasn’t holy enough.”
It wasn’t until a trip to Ocean City, N.J., where Williams’ thoughts had been conjuring and stewing, that she asked her boyfriend at the time, now husband, if she were to take the steps to becoming a pastor would he be OK with it. The reaction surprised her, he was reluctant and accepting.
“I was probably 21 at the time,” Williams said, “I never spoke that loud ever before. I’m not quite sure he knew it would someday come to fruition.”
Thinking out loud became a reality; however, it didn’t come to light without a few bumps in the road. Williams noted doing all sorts of leaderships in the church, but “nothing ever felt enough.”
“I didn’t feel like it fit,” Williams said. “My skin didn’t fit… yet.”
After finishing up her undergraduate degree and playing the ultimate role of mom to two small children, Williams went on a spiritual retreat. While there, she said, there was an overwhelming sense of clarity.
“If God was calling me to do this,” Williams said, “then I would need to take a couple steps, and hopefully God would open his doors for me. I believed that when I left that retreat.”