The Rev. Mark Powell, who started as new rector in early June, is just starting to settle into his new post. And he says he is finding himself right at home.
"Westhampton Beach is a lot like my former community," said Powell, who hails from Wilmington, North Carolina. "Both communities are similar and really big into water sports, which has made the transition nice."
Already, Powell said he had made his way to to take on some waves on his surfboard.
"I like to surf where it is quiet," he said. "I'm sure I will be doing a lot of surfing in September."
And while he's exploring the ins and outs of his new community, Powell is also working to learn more about his new congregation, which he said he was called to.
Powell said his journey to Westhampton Beach was a seven-month-long one with Skype interviews with congregation members and trips to the village.
"It was an interview process of getting to know each other," said Powell, who said he felt like Westhampton Beach was where "God was leading him."
Prior to arriving in Westhampton Beach, Powell served at St. Andrews on the Sound in Wilmington for five years. Before that he was a nurse.
Powell said he had always intended on going to medical school, but at the same time, he said he felt like it wasn't what he was meant to do with his life.
"The church had always been there for me and I had positive experiences as a child," he said.
Powell said he decided to explore priesthood, which he said he would have never imagined himself doing.
"It just kept coming up and the more I refused it, the more I felt this is what I need to do," he said.
After a two-year struggle, Powell entered the seminary.
Now, in Westhampton Beach, Powell says he wants to become a part of the community along with his congregation and work toward a few goals, one of which is to expand the youth program at the church.
"We have a strong Sunday School program and I would like to build on that," he said.
Powell said he would also like see the church do more in the community and just simply have fun while learning about God.
"Church is supposed to be family and making this church a family is a big priority," he said.
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