New pastor begins work at Church of the Nazarene

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 22, 2003

The Rev. Larry Stover has recently begun his work as pastor of First Church of the Nazarene, located at 2310 Summerfield Rd. He and his wife, Janet, moved here from Franklin, Ind., where Stover was pastor of First Church of the Nazarene located south of Indianapolis. Stover is a native of Akron, Ohio, and his wife grew up in Anniston.

Stover, in a recent interview, said that he and his wife had decided to take a sabbatical this past year to assist with elderly parents, which involved moving her parents into a new home in Montgomery.

Her mother died right before Easter, but her dad decided on moving into the new house anyway, and the Stovers assisted with this transition. Her brother also lives in Montgomery.

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In the middle of this past summer, Stover received an inquiry from Selma’s First Church of the Nazarene as to his availability and interest in coming to be the church’s pastor. He entered into conversations with representatives of the church which led to his acceptance of a call in July.

Following his acceptance the church remodeled the parsonage, so the family did not move to Selma until Oct. 1.

Stover said that he and his wife have fallen in love with Selma. He’s pleased that members of First Church of the Nazarene have taken the lead in the quarterly unity services that have been under way for some months and whose attendance is growing.

Stover believes that Christ can turn the town around and that the unity service is part of the movement of God’s renewing Spirit in the area. &uot;There’s a great spiritual need here,&uot; he said.

Stover said that he and his wife have been warmly welcomed both by members of the church and the community at large.

The major focus of the previous pastorate in Franklin, Ind., he said, was being the guiding force of a new church development in the Franklin area, which involved sending a number of members from the church he was serving to become the core of the new church.

Stover says that the Franklin church also focused on strengthening families. That focus will continue here, he said. The Selma congregation already has a variety of ministries that serve this end, and Stover hopes for expansion, especially in the area of senior citizens.

The Stovers, who have been married for 30 years, are the parents of two adult children &045; Paula, who is an activity director for the Will County Senior Citizens Center in Joliet, Ill., and Joshua, who is a senior at Franklin College in Franklin, Ind., where he and his wife, Stephanie, reside.

The Stovers attended Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn., married in 1973 and graduated in 1975.

His degree was in religion and hers in elementary education. She did further graduate studies at Indiana State University in Terre Haute and he graduated from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., in 1978 with a master’s degree in religious education.