Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 20, 2012

Interim minister at Christ Church to help congregation look forward

By Yadira Betances
Staff Writer

---- — Before she entered the ministry, the new interim leader of Christ Church lead an elementary school classroom as a teacher. The Rev. Dr. Gale Davis also worked as a retail buyer before deciding to enter the clergy.

Now, as she steps in to guide the Central Street church, she says she finds it appropriate that she is beginning her interim ministry during Advent.

“I think of Advent as a time of new beginnings, hope and looking forward,” she said as she prepares to lead the church in a search for a new senior pastor. “This is a great parish with great people who are faithful, care for each other and are present for each other.”

The Rev. Jeffrey Gill left on Dec. 1 for Seattle, Wash., after 10 years in Andover. As the congregation looks for its next pastor, Davis, 66, said her job is to help parishioners explore who they are, why they do the things they do and what the future holds. She sees herself in a role similar to John the Baptist.

“It’s not my job to tell them whom to chose. I feel my job is to point them to who’s coming. I’ll help them look beyond themselves, let them see a better sense of who they are and hopefully help them chose the person whose right for them,” she said.

Before entering the ministry, she was a retail buyer and an elementary school teacher. All the while she was active in the church as a member of the vestry, a lay preacher, Eucharistic minister and Sunday school teacher. She also worked with battered woman, rape victims and children.

“I procrastinated a lot about me going to seminary. I was contributing a lot as a lay woman, but there’s an inner nagging you can’t ignore any longer,” she said.

She was born and raised in Pasadena, Calif., the oldest of six children. She has a degree in human relations and organization from the University of San Francisco and a master of divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif. She was a member of the first doctoral class at Seabury Western Seminary where she received a doctorate in congregational development.

Davis was ordained in 1989 in the diocese of El Camino Real, Ca. In her years in the ministry, Davis served in San Jose, Calif.; the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Minneapolis, St. Paul’s and was pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, Mass., for 12 years.

“I love the ministry because of the privilege of being part of people in their moments of great joy and unbearable sorrow. In the midst of this you can bring assurance and hope,” Davis said.

She has worked on the diocesan level in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts as a member of the Diocesan Council, President of the Standing Committee, Deputy to General Convention, vestry consultant, retreat leader, and was a member of the Congregational Development Committee served as Dean of the Concord River Deanery and is currently chairwoman of the Resolutions Committee for the Massachusetts Episcopal Diocesan Convention.

Davis has four children from a previous marriage: Mark, Richard, Emily and Will; six grandchildren. She married Ernie Frohring in June.

During her spare time, Davis enjoys painting, needle point, cooking from around the world, reading fiction and traveling.

Davis and her husband, who likes to chase solar eclipses recently returned from Australia, where she saw her first eclipse, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef and walked in a rain forest.