LOIS HART grew up as a Baptist, married a Catholic and now is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal church.

LOIS HART grew up as a Baptist, married a Catholic and now is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal church.

BATH

G race Episcopal Church made out pretty well when a Baptist and a Catholic were married at the old church on the corner of Oak and Middle streets, in 1950.

Joseph Hart was the Catholic and his bride, the former Lois Young, was the Baptist.

“We looked at it as kind of a compromise,” Lois Hart said of the decision to marry at an Episcopal church. “Neither one of us looked back, and we love Grace Episcopal Church.”

The late Joseph Hart and his wife were blessed with four sons.

Four years ago, Hart took her love of the Episcopalian faith one giant step further. She is now Deacon Hart.

“I was ordained,” she said. “It was kind of a late call for me. That’s what I feel I was called to do.”

Deacon Hart has done much for the church in her 62 years as a member — Sunday school, women’s groups, a parish hall renovation, the choir and more. Now, during both Sunday morning services, she is at the altar. As deacon, she reads the Gospel, prepares the altar table, bids the confession and dismisses the congregation.

“It’s a privilege,” Hart said. “I never get tired of it.”

Deacons have much to do in the Episcopal church.

“Generally,” Hart said, “what needs to be done. A deacon’s job is a service ministry. I sometimes clean up.”

Deacons also are looked to for outreach. With that in mind, Hart and fellow Grace Episcopal Church member Will Nielson are arranging an ecumenical gathering at Nielson’s establishment, Solo Bistro, on Front Street. The first meeting of local clergy is set for Oct. 23 at noon.

Nielson already is involved in outreach, as chairman of the advisory board for Greater Bath Elder Outreach Network. Nieslon sees the ecumenical gathering as a sort of “winwin.”

“I’ve always been very interested in how other people worship God,” said Nielson, whose father, Albert, is a retired Episcopalian priest.

There’s more to this meeting of local clergy than that, however.

“It seems to me that the faith community is a well of good will and support, but perhaps we don’t leverage that good will as much as we could or should,” Nielson said.

Nielson said he has no specific goal in mind.

“The hope is to get to know each other and what they do and their churches, and the Spirit will take advantage of that as It will,” he said. “We’re providing a physical space for important people, and the Spirit will move them. It feels like something I’m kind of called to do. God will take advantage of the opportunity that God finds.”

Hart is hopeful.

“If we get together and talk,” she said, “we can find out if there’s anything we can do together better than we can separately. Then, we’ll find out if churches want to do it on a regular basis.”

Also as part of her outreach efforts, Hart helps produce the church newsletter, and submits a regular newspaper column.

The Rev. Michael Ambler appreciates everything she does.

“She does a great deal and she does it very quietly,” Ambler said. “In her very quiet way she is a pillar, not only of this parish, but of the community.”

[email protected]timesrecord.com

¦ DEACON LOIS HART and fellow Grace Episcopal Church member Will Nielson are arranging an ecumenical gathering at Nielson’s establishment, Solo Bistro on Front Street. The first meeting of local clergy is set for Oct. 23, at noon.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: