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DOWNEY – Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons is leaving as pastor of the Moravian Church of Downey after “accepting a call to provincial service,” the church has announced.
Melby-Gibbons became the church’s ninth pastor in 2009. She was a recent graduate of Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Penn. and became the church’s first female pastor.
With tattoos running down the side of her arm, Melby-Gibbons was admittedly not a “stereotypical pastor,” but it was a role she embraced and used to her advantage.
“Being a tattooed female artist in her early thirties with a tendency to hang out with those who are far removed from the realm of church is not what some people believe to be a “good” pastor,” she wrote in a Piece for the Downey Patriot last year. “Truthfully, in most settings when I reveal my profession, people are either shocked with dismay that a person like me would have ‘Reverend’ in front of her name, or they are delighted to find such a down-to-earth, fun-loving, non-stereotypical person in the role of pastor.”
Her last service in Downey is scheduled for this Sunday, Sept. 7, at 10:30 a.m., which will be the fifth anniversary of her ordination. A reception will follow in the church hall.
Published: Sept. 4, 2014 – Volume 13 – Issue 21