Hello Friends! My name is Dawn Garrett-Larsen, and I am excited and honored to be your new pastor. I grew up in Elyria Ohio, graduated from The College of Wooster and Andover Newton Theological School, served the Federated Church in Marlborough NH for eight years, and am just finishing a nineteen-year pastorate at Nelson Congregational Church in NH.
My husband, Jay, and I have been married since 1992. We have two adult children, Annie and Jesse, and two golden doodles named Gracie and Luna. I love to sing, dance, play games, paddle, hike, read, walk labyrinths, take photographs, and listen to music, especially musical theater! If you are interested in learning more about me you can visit my website at https://dawngarrett-larsen.wixsite.com/mysite. You’ll find some of my photography, audio sermons, and a glimpse into the way I approach ministry on this website.
I flung the net wide when I initiated the search for my next calling, and distributed my profile in many different states. I was looking for a welcoming, mission-oriented, progressive, forward-thinking congregation that is ready to discern God’s call. You are all of those things!
God’s call to serve the First Congregational Church of Canandaigua was absolutely clear to me during the interview process. I was impressed with the wonderful staff, the kind and thoughtful search committee members, and the beautiful building. I loved the shared meals, theological conversations, and time just getting to know members of the search committee.
Since first stepping foot in Canandaigua, this has felt like the right match. I remember during my phone interview saying, “I’ve read through your profile and everything looks too perfect. What aren’t you telling me?”
When I came to visit, I fell in love with the people, the church, and the town. By God’s grace, everything has fallen into place, including the opportunity to buy Debbie Wilbur’s beautiful farm house. It is a clear sign to me that this is the place God has called me to serve.
I am leaving an almost 20-year beloved ministry in NH, and I know how difficult it will be for my current parishioners to say goodbye and to be ready for a new pastor to lead them. I expect that some of the work you will be doing during our first year together will be grieving Tom’s leaving and starting to envision church with Dawn as your pastor.
As we begin our ministry together, I will invite you to reflect on your past and look toward the future. We will be organizing small group gatherings throughout the fall. I want to hear from you what you love about this church, what your hopes and dreams are for the future, and how we will work together to follow God.
I hope to meet each of you during my first few months. If you would be more comfortable getting to know one another individually or as families, I would love to come and visit you in your home, meet you for tea, or visit with you at the church. Please let me know what venue is preferable for you.
I will focus on building relationships, asking questions, listening, and learning about what you value most in this community of faith. Thank you for your patience and support in helping me to come to know all of you.
Please also help me to know what is going on in the lives of the people in the church. If your daughter is having surgery, if there is a new baby in your family, if your spouse lost a job, if you are dealing with illness or recovering from an injury, or if you just need to talk with someone, I would like to be there to support you. I’d rather hear the news that someone was taken to the hospital from three or four people than not hear about it at all.
I will be incredibly grateful for your help in knowing what is going on in the community. Thanks for your assistance! God is doing great things at the First Congregational Church of Canandaigua and I am excited to be a part of ministry here in this place!