QUINCY -- Admittedly, the Rev. Gayle Pope is going to miss Christ Lutheran Church and the community it serves.
Pope, 65, is retiring from full-time pastoral duties following Sunday's service at Christ Lutheran, 333. S. 36th.
"I'll miss the relationships with the people, and having been a part of many significant moments in their lives," Pope said. "This is a wonderful community to be a part of."
Pope, who lives with her husband, Terry, on a farm about 10 miles north of Carthage in Hancock County, will continue a variety of pastoral services across the region on a part-time basis.
Pope will be filling in as a guest pastor at various Lutheran churches when needed and will also continue her role in the chaplaincy program at Blessing Hospital. She might also seek to expand her work as a chaplain at other hospitals in the region.
Pope, who is a native of Fargo, N.D., worked as a newspaper reporter and in the public relations field before entering seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in her early 40s.
Pope was "born and raised a Catholic," but eventually found her way to the Lutheran denomination where she felt a calling to pursue ministerial duties.
"I was always active in the church, and at one time thought I might have a (church-related) communications job," Pope said.
Pope said it was no problem becoming a pastor rather late in life at age 49.
"It wasn't time until it was time," she said.
Pope also pastored the Christ Lutheran Church in Nauvoo for eight years prior to coming to Quincy.
Until a replacement for Pope is found for the Quincy church, a combination of guest and interim pastors will serve the congregation, which numbers about 200.