Passion and Enthusiasm: Contagious

July 7, 2012 Passion and Enthusiasm: Contagious



Ken’s Column

Posted: 04.20.2009

Meet Pastor Bill

Amid all the fear and loathing over the state of denominations and mainstream religion in general, it’s easy to wonder about the future of the church.

Then Pastor Bill calls, and you believe that maybe, just maybe, there is reason to hope.

Pastor Bill is Bill Masciangelo, who leads little New Hope United Methodist Church in the Eastern North Carolina town of Hertford. He had read a column I had written about the need for congregations to tell its stories, and called me to talk. And talk. And talk. If energy and passion is what it will take to make the church more compelling in the lives of this troubled culture, then Pastor Bill is the sort of fellow who will lead us out of the wilderness.

I could feel his optimism coursing through the telephone line as he introduced himself, and the good things happening at New Hope.

A New Jersey native, Pastor Bill’ss journey to the pulpit has been a fascinating one: A Marine who served in Vietnam, he also worked in the hospitality industry, booking meetings for chain hotels. At one point, he was associated with the Blackwater private security company. The biography he shares on his church Web site recalls the amazing experience of escorting World War II vets back to Normandy for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

Then he told me that he sensed the call, answered it (though he’s still going back to Duke Divinity School for classes) and wound up in Eastern North Carolina, leading an historic church toward better days. This is where he put it into overdrive, sharing all sorts of ideas and accomplishments that are putting the life back into the congregation. Attendance has risen from 30 to 100, he said. But more than that, there is a sweet spirit rising at New Hope. The Web site is full of pictures of smiling faces, news of Bible studies and food pantries – a vitality you can hear in the voice of the preacher at the reins.

Pastor Bill volunteered to participate in any workshops I might soon lead on the importance of churches telling its story. I dropped a few copies of our Cornerstone newsletter and Intersection magazine in the mail to him, reminding him that no matter the membership and means of a church, we all can share our news with love and enthusiasm.


Maybe that’s what it will take to drive mainstream congregations back into hearts and minds. That, and a few more Pastor Bills to light a fire.

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Pastor of Moyock UMC