Church wedding

Pastor James Mitchum retires from Petoskey United Methodist Church

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PETOSKEY — The United Methodist Church of Petoskey bid farewell to longtime pastor James Mitchum Sunday after 25 years of service to the church.

Mitchum started with the church in 1997 and has since made an impression on the local community not only by serving his congregation but for having such a long tenure as pastor of the church.

“He is our longest-serving pastor at the church,” said Lonnie Woodward, a member of the human resources committee and a longtime member of the church.

“There are other pastors around who have had long terms, but it’s amazing that he’s been with us for so long,” she said.

Mitchum attended seminary at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky and his doctorate from United Seminary in Ohio before serving as an associate pastor at Lawrence Avenue United Methodist Church in Eaton Rapids from 1987 to 1997 before coming to Petoskey.

He has since served on the conference’s ordination board and the conference’s youth leadership camp and has made seven trips to Africa, served on the leadership of South African medical expeditions, and participated in numerous community events, including working on the church’s community garden which provides goods to the Manna Food Project and others.

Pictured are James Mitchum, outgoing pastor of Petoskey United Methodist Church, and his wife Michelle.

“Being a clergyman is a 24/7 job, but he loves both the church and the congregation and is always working on the next thing,” said Doug Mantha, youth director and director. church ministries.

“He also goes out frequently for personal visits and counseling and, if you think about it, think of all the baptisms, weddings, member adoptions and anything that goes through the church. He has touched and ministered to many people in our community. ,” he said.

The News-Review contacted Mitchum, who declined an interview but provided a statement sharing his gratitude to the church and community.

It reads: “…there is so much to be grateful for as a pastor of The United Methodist Church of Petoskey over the past few years. The church has enriched Michelle and my life and the life of so many people in the communities served and around the world. I am grateful that the church is following the example of Jesus in investing in people’s potential. Grateful for the commitment of the church in local missions, around state, nationally and around the world.The church is full of people willing to give their time, talents, testimonies, prayers and resources to reach out to a weary and divided world.

“…The United Methodist Church of Petoskey embraces and practices that the world is their parish to share the love of Jesus Christ and heal the world in small ways. I am indebted to many people who pray and support me. I am grateful to God, the people of the church, the community of Petoskey and the surrounding area for the opportunity to serve these many years.”

Mitchum did not write down his retirement plans, but Mantha and Woodward believe he will spend more time with his wife Michelle and children Caleb and Meghan and take more time to ride his bike and read.

“It’s sad to see him go with Michelle, but my goodness they deserve it. Michelle has been our worship group leader and has taught piano for years and James has certainly left his mark on the church. and the community,” Woodward said.

Petoskey United Methodist Church will welcome Pastor Julie Greyerbiehl in June and have guest speakers — including Mantha — until she arrives.

Contact reporter Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter, @seanmillerpnrand Instagram, @sean_everest.