, Derry, New Hampshire

January 23, 2014

East Derry parish welcomes new leader

By Julie Huss

---- — EAST DERRY — First Parish Congregational Church welcomes a new pastor after more than three years of searching for the perfect fit.

The Rev. Deborah Roof began her new leadership role at the church on Jan. 1.

She said she was happy to have found a perfect congregation that answered her prayers.

She comes to New Hampshire from the Rochester, N.Y., area. She taught English and French for many years before finding her calling to enter the ministry.

“I actually heard the call when I was a child,” she said. “I’ve always been attached to a church, always connected.”

The step to take her faith farther led her to schooling and service all near the Rochester area. She said New England was always a part of her life as well, as she would vacation often in Maine with family members.

“I was at a point in my life when I said, ‘God, please help,’” she said.

Roof said she loves to talk, loves to spread the word of God and is always learning. She grew up as a Methodist, served a Presbyterian church and then found herself a family in the United Church of Christ.

Her move to East Derry was the perfect fit. She had her search information released and First Parish also had its feelers out, seeking a new leader.

After 39 months, both sides connected and the process began to bring Roof to New Hampshire.

“It was a very intricate process,” she said.

First Parish had looked at about 120 minister profiles before choosing Roof to be their pastor.

“I could tell, they could tell, there’s something here,” Roof said. “We have some energy.”

As the new pastor, Roof said she will delve deeply into the church’s needs, including keeping the historical building in good physical condition, as well as strong spiritually.

The East Derry church dates back to the 1700s and is the oldest church in the community. The congregation has a lot of energy, Roof said, and she looks forward to finding ways to make worship new, while also supporting traditional worship styles that many prefer.

Roof said she is impressed with the level of community and service to others she has found at First Parish.

“To come here and see the amount of service work was also appealing,” she said. “They serve all the time, at the soup kitchen, the Upper Room, I wanted to be part of that.”