By the Daily Gate City
Alice Hawes will give her final sermon as pastor of the United Presbyterian Church of Keokuk during the 10:30 a.m. worship service Sunday, Oct. 14.
A carry-in dinner will be held for Hawes, her family and friends after the service in the church’s fellowship hall, 102 Main St.
Hawes, who is retiring, has served as the church’s pastor or co-pastor for five years, starting with the Christmas Eve service in 2007.
Before becoming a commissioned lay pastor with the Presbyterian denomination in 2004, she taught school for 30 years in the Central Lee School District, Donnellson, and three years in the Fort Madison School District.
She taught second, fourth, fifth and sixth grades as well as remedial reading at Central Lee, and second grade and remedial reading at Fort Madison.
She took eight classes, including two online, during 2002-04 to become a commissioned lay pastor.
“After retiring (from teaching), I went to work at two mission schools in Kentucky and the Ozarks as a volunteer,” she said. “Then one of the Presbytery officials suggested I become a lay pastor to help people in this area.”
Hawes was part of the first class for commissioned lay pastors in the Presbytery of Eastern Iowa, which is based in Iowa City. In addition to taking online courses, she took classes from pastors in the Presbytery who were experts in those fields of study.
After becoming a commissioned lay pastor, she served for a year at the Olivet Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids. Then she served for two years at the Mennonite-Presbyterian Church in Donnellson, a church that never had a female pastor until her arrival. She also is the first woman to serve as pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Keokuk.
She has four children in rural Argyle, Hamilton, Ill., Kirksville, Mo., and Dardenne Prairie, Mo.; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A third great-grandchild is due in March, she said.
“I’ve enjoyed all of it,” she said. “I enjoy the church work tremendously.”
Later this year, she plans to go on a Christmas trip to Branson, Mo. After that, she has no definite plans, she said.
As for her words of advice for the next pastor at the United Presbyterian Church, she said, “Learn from the people, love the people and then lead the people.”
Her successor, the Rev. Randi Henderson of Fayetteville, Ark., will assume her new role at the United Presbyterian Church on Nov. 1.