Pastor pg 1 5-9-19

caption, page 7:

Pastor Tom Meyer, left, and Charlie Leach in the steeple raising money in September 2010. Town Crier file photo.

Pastor Tom
By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — Congregational Church of Putnam Pastor Tom Meyer, having just finished serving as student pastor in the cold reaches of Maine, never regretted putting in pastor of the Putnam church. He started Oct. 1, 1998.
Nearly 20 years later, he is retiring. His last service is June 16.
He had graduated from the Bangor Theological Seminary in Bangor, Maine, and applied to the Putnam church because his brother-in-law was from Putnam. Plus “Putnam was so much better than northern Maine” so close to the Canadian border.
“I sent in my profile (application) and the rest is history, a lot of history,” he said.
Asked what he considers his biggest accomplishment, what he is most proud of, he recounted the replacement of the church’s steeple. More than $150,000 was raised for that project and $14,000 of that came from the big kickoff: Pastor Tom, who is afraid of heights, staying in the steeple until the kick-off goal was hit. He stayed in the steeple most of the day. He joked that some people donated to help him get out of the steeple — and some donated to keep him up in the steeple. He recalls that people brought him more than funding. Many brought him food.
In addition to the successful steeple project, he said many internal changes were made, the reorganization of boards and committees. He said he believes that the streamlining puts the church and the boards in a better position for the future.
The most difficult time he recalls as pastor was the death of Shannon LaBonte from cancer about a year ago. “She had been a member of the church. It was a difficult time. There were two tough funerals that week.”
If he had to guess, he said he’d performed 100 to 150 funerals through the years — both for church and for community members. Not only has he done many baptisms, he’s now doing them for the children of people he married. “It doesn’t seem possible that much time passed,” he said. He thinks he’s done between 60 and 75 weddings.
When he’s fully retired he plans to return to his love of restoring old radios with another local gentleman.
He had been an electronic technician for 25 years after his uncle got him interested. Returning to repairing radios is a way to honor his uncle.
He joked that in his 40s, instead of a Corvette and an affair, he went to seminary. A local woman had told him she dreamed that he went to seminary and so he did. “Never regretted it.”
In Putnam Pastor Tom said he found a good joint relationship with the church and the community.
“All the years here I felt this to be my home,” he said.

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