Food and fellowship for Reverend Mullin’s farewell

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Reverend Paula Mullin was given a gift on behalf of the Shawville United Church, a picture of the church done by Michael Neelin.

Scott Campbell


Reverend Paula Mullin was given a gift on behalf of the Shawville United Church, a picture of the church done by Michael Neelin.

Scott Campbell

SHAWVILLE – For Reverend Paula Mullin, working in a mailroom turned out to be her first job back in 1971 in Montreal. She also spent some time as a volunteer candy striper at a hospital. To the people of the United Church, she has been their minister for the last 13 years. Her final service there will be July 28.
“There comes a time when the congregation is taken as far as we can go together,” said Reverend Mullin of her decision to leave. “They need to grow by new ways of doing things, and with new ideas.”
Since her ordination 33 years ago, there were a few postings until she found herself at Bristol and Starks Corners for services, where she made her first contact with Shawville’s United Church.
“Eleanor Hayes was filling in for the organist and I got a call for an interview,” recalled Reverend Mullin. The previous minister, Mark Fearnall, had announced his leave, and the new appointment was supposed to be for the year. “I had never heard very much of Shawville until I came to Bristol. I got a good sense of who the people were, and what the congregation was about. Lucky for me, or blessed, I was asked to stay. It’s the longest I’ve been anywhere in my ministry.”
What has made Reverend Mullin stay so long? “I’ve had a lot of good experiences,” she answered thoughtfully, noting the weddings, baptisms, and the funerals alone that total 275 at her last count, along with consoling, helping people, social aspects, the United Church Women, and many friendships formed since her arrival here in 2000.
Reverend Mullin expects her last service will have some personal reflections and hopes for the future of the local church. Typically, it takes her about 10 hours to prepare her weekly sermons, in writing and practicing it. “I love to read and tell stories, and if I had a chance to work a different job it would be as an editor at a publishing house,” she laughed. I’ve been told I should read stories on the radio. That’s why I think funerals were such a satisfying part of my ministry. It’s telling someone’s story; paying tribute, sharing hope, and lending comfort.”
On July 6, the United Church hall was filled with well-wishers for Reverend Mullin’s farewell reception. “I’m going to miss these people when I leave,” she said. “I felt very much at home in Shawville. I look ahead, but look back with gratitude.”
At the end of the month, Reverend Mullin moves to Ottawa with plans of some time off and interim work in other churches.