Rev. Melissa Boyer

Rev. Melissa Boyer

A native of Arkansas, I grew up in a nominally Catholic family as the youngest of five. I felt the first inklings of a calling to ministry, participating in the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization). Since I did not want to be a nun and was the wrong gender to be a priest, I instead pursued my interest in teaching history as an undergraduate at Hendrix College, a United Methodist-related liberal arts college. It was at Hendrix that I became a United Methodist and discerned my call to ministry. After graduation, I moved to New York City to earn my M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary. I’ve served in a variety of ministry settings, from chaplaincy at Columbia University to parish ministry in Manhattan, Dallas, and Westchester County.

I love being a pastor. I’ve loved serving Katonah UMC since 2010. Under my leadership, my congregation has grown not only in new members but also in spiritual vibrancy, loving relationships, committed discipleship and stewardship, and a deeper understanding of the interdependence of personal piety and social holiness. I take particular pride in having led Katonah UMC in signing the Covenant of Conscience (committing to offer ministries to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity) in 2019. After becoming the pastor of the UMC of Purdys as well, I led the Purdys church through the discernment process to also sign the Covenant in 2021. Katonah and Purdys have become one loving community since 2020.

Community involvement and relationships have always been an important part of my pastoral work. I served as an academic coordinator and instructor for Rising Hope, a program offering college-level courses in correctional facilities. I’m the co-chair of MIND (Methodists In New Directions), a grassroots organization advocating for equality for LGBTQIA persons. In Katonah, I’ve been active in the community in various ways, such as working with Appalachia Service Project or the Emergency Shelter Partnership, serving the fire department as a chaplain, organizing rallies or teach-ins for racial justice, helping to raise awareness in faith communities about intimate partner abuse, or creating opportunities for people to connect through Katonah SPACE (Spirituality, Arts, and Community for Everyone), an organization I founded.

I have special training in Gestalt Pastoral Care (a synthesis of spiritual direction and gestalt growth work), coaching, and conflict transformation. I love acting as a “spiritual midwife” for a disciple’s growth in faith. I share life, learning, and joy with my beloved spouse Barry Mangione, a pediatric physical therapist, singer/songwriter, and guitarist. I’m the proud parent of two young adult children. Caleigh, 23, manages a dog daycare business in Pittsburgh, where she lives with her partner Emmett. Connor, 21, serves in operations intelligence with the Air Force and is stationed with his wife Brianna in Tucson. I’m also the proud parent of an elderly shih tzu named Sonic. I’m enthusiastic about board games, working out, traveling, hiking, and laughing. I visit my children, as well as my parents and siblings in Arkansas, as often as I can. I love reading and writing, and I love to create things: food, music, vegetable gardens, a sustainable lifestyle, food, spaces for people to connect with God and each other, food …

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Toni Ritter