The historic Midway Congregational United Church of Christ, located on the historic Dorchester Academy campus in Midway, has a new pastor.
A native of New Orleans, the Rev. Dr. Larry Evans has been the church’s pastor for one year, but he officially will be installed during an Oct. 9 service.
Evans was ordained in the ministry in 1977. He is a certified and licensed psychotherapist, marriage and family counselor, and a retired military chaplain. He has worked with veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder.
“I have a passion for veterans,” he said.
He served as dean of seminary in Lancaster, Pa., before coming to this area.
“I came here to practice in Savannah. I felt my skills could help provide a needed service,” Evans said.
He has established health counseling centers in Panama, El Paso, Texas, and New Orleans.
“Midway Congregational Church will be involved in a healing ministry. We are going to start the Midway Community Wellness and Family Enrichment Center. It will start at the church. The Wellness Center will provide pastoral care and will offer individual counseling for mental issues, severe brain problems, substance abuse issues, couples and family counseling, life-skills training, workshops and life-transitions support,” Evans said.
His vision is to witness the spiritual growth and development of church members. “I want to see people become the best and to see them live to their fullest potential,” he said. “We are seeing spiritual growth in members. I see myself as a compassionate teacher and healer. Whatever my gifts are, I have a mandate to help you. I am because you are.”
Evans said he enjoys reading and teaching the Bible from a narrative perspective. “We look at the characters and culture. The students become a character in the story and then we go to another chapter and they become another character. We have theological cluster groups (five to 15 people) and meet at different times,” he said.
Evans graduated from Duke University with a master’s degree in divinity and earned a doctorate in pastoral psychotherapy from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Midway Congregational Church has an active mission ministry that includes providing food and clothing to those in need.
“Our church participates in seven different ministries. We are also in partnership with the Presbyterian church. We train people to go where there is a natural disaster. We sent packages when the tornadoes hit,” he said.
Evans has trained many pastors. “One thing I advise my students and pastors is that everybody has a story and they come from somewhere. Listen to the story and you will know the person. If they grant you privilege, you may be able to help them. I don’t believe in empowerment. I believe in helping people discern the power God has given them. You are better served by discovering your own power,” he said.
The pastor and his wife, Dot Evans, have been married for 45 years. They have two children, Stacey and Rustin, and a grand dog named Luiji.