ANDOVER - In the past 10 years, the Rev. Jeffrey Shilling Gill has collected a heap of memories as pastor of Christ Church.
He helped parishioners grieve over the death of his predecessor, oversaw the building of a new organ, the renovation of the sanctuary and the founding of Esperanza Academy, a middle school for girls in Lawrence, along with other partners in the area.
Two weeks ago, Gill, 57, found out he was chosen as pastor of Trinity Parish Episcopal Church in Seattle, Wash.
“I’m leaving with mixed feelings,” Gill said. “I’m both exhilarated and terrified about starting in a new place.”
Gill came to Andover eight months after the Rev. Dennis Jarry died suddenly in 2001.
“There was still a sense of sadness, loss and grief. It was time to work through and be very sensitive to the reality, but we had to pick ourselves up and move on. We had a future to embrace and discern God’s will, so we experienced Resurrection.”
In addition to the aesthetic changes done to the church, Gill said the youth ministry which was created as a model for the Episcopal Diocese and the Christian formation program for children are also as important.
“I’ve grown to realize it’s okay to have big dreams if it’s for the sake of the kingdom of God,” he said. “If our goal is to hold on to the old ways, it’s not inspiring to people.”
Gill came to Christ Church in 2002 as priest-in-charge and became pastor in 2005.
He said there has been a strong pull to move to the West Coast for the past 15 months. It was then that his daughter, Liz Gill Neilson gave birth to Gill and his wife of 36 years, Carolyn’ first grandson, Sebastian Neilson. Their son, George will also be moving to Venice, Calif.