Pastor Ami Sawtelle

We are excited to welcome Pastor Ami Sawtelle as our pastor, effective July 1, 2023!

Copyright Valley News.

I was born and raised in the land of the Blues and the home of
the King of Rock and Roll, Memphis, Tennessee. I received my BS in
Agriculture from The University of Tennessee at Martin and my
DVM from the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary
Medicine. From Veterinary School, I went on active duty as a United
States Army Veterinarian, serving for 4 years active duty before
transferring to the reserve forces. I was mobilized twice, once in
support of Operation Desert Storm and once in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom.

I completed my Master of Divinity at Boston University School
of Theology in 2007 and retired from the Army Reserve in the fall of
that same year. My first appointment was to the
Livermore/Livermore Falls Charge where we worked to provide a
home and support to the Livermore Falls Food Cupboard, had a
youth puppet ministry that invited the community into our building
twice each year. After the closing of the Livermore Church, and
while still serving the Livermore Falls church, I was appointed to
Wilton UMC where we provided space for the local Boy Scout Troop
and participated in the annual Blueberry Festival.

I was reappointed to the Boothbay Region United Methodist
Cooperative Parish (BBRUMCP) in 2010 where I coordinated and
led worship in the three churches that are members of that parish.
We began a Halloween celebration for the children participating in
the annual Halloween parade, supported numerous local mission
projects and housed the local Free Clothing Cupboard behind the
Boothbay Harbor 1 st UMC. While working with the cooperative
parish, I was matched with Tiger, a Ministry Dog, trained by NEADS
out of Princeton, MA.

From the Boothbay Region Tiger and I next traveled South, to
South Portland’s Thornton Heights UMC, in July of 2016. We were
actively engaged in many ministries, to include providing space for
Building Blocks Learning Center (BBLC), a preschool and daycare
open year around; God Time, a weekly engagement with the four
year olds from (BBLC) as we taught them about God’s love for all
people; Vacation Bible Camp, children four years old through sixth
grade were invited to participate in a week long “Day Camp” as they
learned about Jesus Christ; monthly Communion at the South
Portland Nursing Home; Re-Run Shoes, a gathering of gently used
shoes which were eventually shipped overseas to provide footwear
for people unable to buy new ones; support for the local food pantry
and a number of other ministries.

July 1, 2019, Tiger and I began our adventures in Vermont
when we were appointed to Grace UMC in Bradford, VT. The
pandemic came during our first year, forcing us into isolation along
with the rest of the community. Despite that, we were able to talk
with people as they walked along Main Street, and we sat on the
front porch. Just as we began to emerge from the isolation of the
pandemic, Tiger began experiencing symptoms consistent with a
brain tumor and died in May of 2021. The end of the pandemic
highlighted the losses that occurred during that time and not
everyone was able to return to ministry at Grace UMC, but they
continue to support the local Food Shelf, participate in the
InterChurch Council, and provide space for multiple organizations in
need of a space to work with people within the community.
In March of 2023, I was matched with a new partner from
NEADS, this time a service dog, Miles, who helps me pick up things I
have dropped as well as helps me manage some of the symptoms of
my PTS.

July 1, 2023, Miles and I had our appointment extended to
include both Grace UMC, Bradford, VT and White River Junction
UMC, White River Junction, VT. We were excited by the food pantry
on the front of the church, that is available to people 24 hours per
day, seven days a week, as well as the Secondhand Rose thrift shop
open Wednesdays and Saturdays. I have to admit, there are times
I’m not sure who is the more important part of our team, as Miles is
often greeted first, but we have both been warmly welcomed by the
White River Junction UMC parish and are looking forward to serving
with them as we minister to the surrounding community together.

We invite you to join us at worship on Sundays at 10:30am to meet Pastor Ami and Miles!