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MOUNT VERNON — Rev. Dr. Mearle Griffith was installed on April 14 as First Congregational United Church of Christ’s Resident Pastor of Community Outreach. Among his responsibilities is serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Interchurch Social Services, where he also serves as a volunteer at the Clothes-N-Counters Thrift Store. He also volunteers with First Congregational UCC’s Hot Meals program and as a member of the church’s Mission and Service Committee.
Griffith coordinated the recent 50th Anniversary Celebration of Interchurch Social Services and authored their 50-year history.
“We could not be more delighted to have Pastor Mearle on board with our staff. We appreciate his volunteering to do this for sure, but I also cannot say enough about how wonderful it has been to have a minister of his caliber in town and at our church. His work is exemplary and he is a wonderful person to be around!” exclaimed Rev. Scott Elliott, the lead pastor at First Congregational Church.
Griffith worked at all levels of The United Methodist Church for more than 45 years. Under his pastoral leadership, congregations of all sizes experienced significant growth in membership, attendance and facilities. He has led churches in extensive growth in mission and outreach to the community and beyond. He also served the church in denomination-wide leadership as President and CEO of the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries and Associate General Secretary with the General Council on Ministries. He received the Herbert Manning Service Award from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary for distinguished service to the Church and the world.
Rev. Griffith added that “Jane and I are glad to have found a vibrant church that not only has great Sunday services, but is dedicated to doing God’s work for justice all week. I am pleased to be able to encourage volunteerism as a faith practice among our people at this active Knox County church.”
Griffith earned a Master of Divinity degree from The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Rust College for service to the Church and World.
He resides in Mount Vernon with wife, Mary Jane Batchelder Griffith, a retired educator. The couple has two adult daughters.