ANDOVER — The Rev. Dr. Gale Davis finds it appropriate that she is beginning her interim ministry at Christ Church during Advent.
“I think of Advent as a time of new beginnings, hope and looking forward,” she said as she prepares to lead the church in a search for a new senior pastor. The Rev. Jeffrey Gill left on Dec. 1 for Seattle, Wash., after 10 years in Andover.
“This is a great parish with great people who are faithful, care for each other and are present for each other,” said Davis, 66.
As the congregation looks for a pastor, Davis said her job is to help parishioners explore who they are, why they do the things they do and what the future holds. She sees herself as John the Baptist.
“It’s not my job to tell them whom to chose. I feel my job is to point them to who’s coming. I’ll help them look beyond themselves, let them see a better sense of who they are and hopefully help them chose the person whose right for them,” she said.
Before entering the ministry, she was a retail buyer and an elementary school teacher. All the while she was active in the church as a member of the vestry, a lay preacher, Eucharistic minister and teaching Sunday school. She also worked with battered woman, rape victims and children.
“I procrastinated a lot about me going to seminary. I was contributing a lot as a lay woman, but there’s an inner nagging you can’t ignore any longer,” she said.
She was born and raised in Pasadena, Calif., the oldest of six children. She has a degree in human relations and organization from the University of San Francisco and a master of divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif. She was a member of the first doctoral class at Seabury Western Seminary where she received a doctorate in congregational development.
Davis was ordained in 1989 in the diocese of El Camino Real, Ca. In her years in the ministry, Davis served in San Jose, Ca.; the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Minneapolis, St. Paul’s and was pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, for 12 years.
“I love the ministry because of the privilege of being part of people in their moments of great joy and unbearable sorrow. In the midst of this you can bring assurance and hope,” Davis said.
She has worked on the diocesan level in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts as a member of the Diocesan Council, President of the Standing Committee, Deputy to General Convention, vestry consultant, retreat leader, and was a member of the Congregational Development Committee served as Dean of the Concord River Deanery and is currently chairwoman of the Resolutions Committee for the Massachusetts Episcopal Diocesan Convention.
Davis has four children from a previous marriage: Mark, Richard, Emily and Will; six grandchildren. She married Ernie Frohring in June.
During her spare time, Davis enjoys painting, needle point, cooking from around the world, reading fiction and traveling.
Davis and her husband, who likes to chase solar eclipses recently returned from Australia, where she saw her first eclipse, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef and walked in a rain forest.
AMC Loews Theater at The Loop, 90 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen: “Restless Heart” the movie on the life of St. Augustine will be shown Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets available via PayPal for $11 by logging on to www.catholicquest.org.
Christ Church, 25 Central St., Andover: Blue Christmas service with members of St. Paul Episcopal Church, North Andover, tomorrow at 5 p.m., featuring readings, meditations and Eucharist.
Church of the Transfiguration, 1 Hood Road, Derry: Members of the church and Etz Hayim Synagogue lead an interfaith discussion on the book, “Have a Little Faith,” Dec. 19 at noon.
Corpus Christi parish at Holy Rosary, 35 Essex St., Lawrence: The Christmas wafers for the traditional Christmas celebration by Eastern Europeans are available in the parish office. Donations accepted.
Faith Lutheran, 390 S. Main St., Andover: The church is presenting two Christmas pageants tomorrow at 4 p.m. A potluck dinner and talent show follows. The Rev. John Heydenreich leads a “Walk through the Bible” study focusing on key stories and what do they mean, tomorrow, 5-6:30 p.m.
First Baptist Church, 122 Main Street, Plaistow: Following the 10 a.m. worship service tomorrow, a luncheon focusing on “Joy” will be held, as part of a series to talk about “the fruits of the spirit”. Event features food, stories, music and children’s games.
First Church Congregational, 26 Pleasant St., Methuen: Adult study group listens to Handel’s “Messiah,” and discuss the composer’s musical interpretation on the biblical texts that talk about the prophecy and birth of Jesus, Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
First United Methodist, 57 Peters St., North Andover: Advent study on the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” discusses how the Christmas classic reflects or challenges the Christian faith, Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
First Presbyterian, 346 Broadway, Haverhill: Book study is reading Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis” Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m.
Island Pond Baptist, 26 N. Salem Road, Hampstead: The church’s kids Bible Club Christmas party is Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. There will be a movie, popcorn, games and gifts.
North Parish Unitarian Universalist, 190 Academy Road, North Andover: Holiday Concert featuring Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, secular and seasonal songs is tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. During the Act I finale, musicians and the congregation will sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” and the final sing-a-long will be, “Let There be Peace on Earth.” Suggested donation is $15. Helen Cymbala leads a service for Solstice and Yule Dec. 23, during the 9 and 11 a.m. services. The group Aering provides the music.
St. Andrew Episcopal, 90 Broadway, Methuen: Service of lessons and carols is held tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Christmas pageant is perform Dec. 23 at 9:30 a.m.
St. Augustine, 43 Essex St., Andover: Students in the eighth grade religion education classes and the children’s choir perform carols Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. Cookies and hot chocolate follow.
Sst. James, Winter Street, Haverhill: Advent evening prayer, a short service with scripture, psalms and reflection is held tomorrow at 6:15 a.m. Last service is Dec. 23.
St. Joseph of St. Mary and Joseph parish, 40 Main St., Salem: The movie, “The Nativity Story” will be shown tomorrow at 7 p.m. A preliminary meeting on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius will be held Dec. 18 at 7:15 p.m. The Rev. John Michalowski will lead the workshop January through June. Participants will pray 45-60 minutes a day over the assigned scripture passages or meditations from Ignatius’ exercises, then participants will write their experience in a journal.
St. Luke the Evangelist, Newton: Service of Advent lessons and carols is tomorrow at 4 p.m.The parish has Christmas wafers, a tradition celebrates by Polish, Slovak, Lithuanian and Italian families on Christmas eve. The unleavened wafers are basked from wheat flour and water, are rectangular in shape and thin. They are embossed with Christmas scenes including the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus or the star of Bethlehem. Donations accepted.
St. Luke the Evangelist, 8 Atkinson Depot Road, Plaistow: The parish has Christmas wafers, a tradition celebrates by Polish, Slovak, Lithuanian and Italian families on Christmas eve. The unleavened wafers are basked from wheat flour and water, are rectangular in shape and thin. They are embossed with Christmas scenes including the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus or the star of Bethlehem.
St. Michael, 196 Main St., North Andover: Middle school students host the Mass tomorrow at 6 p.m. Advent penance service is held Monday at 7 p.m. followed by individual confessions.
St. Monica, 212 Lawrence St., Methuen: The Women’s Prayer Group meets Monday, 7-8 p.m. in the school’s music room. Mass in Latin is celebrated Wednesday at 7 p.m.
St. John the Baptist, 120 Lincoln Ave., Haverhill: Members of the Marian Society devoted to Our Lady of Fatima pray the Rosary Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m.
St.. Mary and Joseph Parish, 40 Main St., Salem: The program, “Exploring the Catholic Faith” where participants reflect on the Sunday gospel and discuss it, will be offered Sundays, 7-8:30 p.m. through Easter.
St. Patrick, 118 S. Broadway, Lawrence: “Life and Faith” adult faith formation series focusing on the sacraments will be held Thursdays from 7-8:30, through April. Bible study for people in their 20s and 30s meets weekly to discuss the Passion and Resurrection narratives of Jesus, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.
St. Patrick, 12 Main St., Plaistow: Advent cluster penance service is held tomorrow at 2 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas, 26 Crystal Ave., Derry: Charismatic prayer group meets for praise, thanksgiving and love through the Holy Spirit, Mondays 7-8:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal, 26 White St., Haverhill: A service of lessons and carols is celebrated Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. At 6 p.m. also on Dec. 23, the church hosts a blue Christmas service.
Trinitarian Congregational, 72 Elm St., North Andover: The Sunday School Children will retell the Christmas story through a skit titled, “Two Sisters and the Greatest Gift,” tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Unitarian Universalist, 15 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill: Advent vesper service of music, readings, prayer and silence is held Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Rev. Frank and Sally Liebermann lead a workshop for Joy, Wednesday at 7 p.m. The candle light service features treats, tell stories and share memories. Solstice service is held Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
West Parish, 129 Reservation Road, Andover: Blue Christmas service is held tomorrow at 4 p.m. Live outdoor Christmas pageant is Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. at the arch of the cemetery.
Windham Presbyterian, 1 Church Road, Windham: The church’s children perform the play, “The Fourth Wise Man,” tonight at 5 p.m. Free.