John-WoodringBy Jann Wiswall

On July 7, Pastor John Woodring will give his first sermon as the new pastor of the United Church of Ellicottville.

“I am looking forward to working with the congregation of this Church, as well as with the entire community,” says Woodring. “The energy and excitement of the Church leadership, the Church’s connections to the community, its involvement with the Food Bank and its interest in becoming more mission-oriented all make it feel like the perfect fit. I look forward to getting to know everybody and learning how the Church and I can address their needs.”

Woodring has a long history of service to the Church. Indeed, he was practically born with service in his blood. His father, a Presbyterian minister, and mother, a family physician, were serving in a mission field in Puerto Rico when John was born. He is one of eight children and spent most of his childhood in eastern Kentucky, where his parents served and are now retired.

The mission focus of his childhood carried into his adult life as a pastor. He has organized and participated in mission programs in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Brazil, as well as in many states around the U.S. through service organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Appalachian Service Project and others. He believes that mission work — whether it is far away or just next door — gives people an opportunity to not only help others in need, but to think about their own lives in different ways.

“This is how the church must show its love, with singular small acts of kindness,” he said.

Woodring attended Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and was ordained in 1990.  His first parish was in Marietta, Ohio, followed by parishes in central Pennsylvania and Western New York. Most recently, he was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Cuba, N.Y., until it closed earlier this year. Concurrently, he was serving as part-time pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Allegany and will continue in that position while serving half time in Ellicottville.

Woodring’s wife Jackie is an associate professor of biology at Jamestown Community College in Olean where she is developing JCC’s first biotech program.  The couple lives near her parents in Allegany on a “hobby” farm with two dogs, five cats, two parrots and a couple dozen chickens.

Please note: Beginning July 7, all Sunday services at the United Church of Ellicottville will begin at 11 a.m.