Reverend Mary E. Hutchens passed away on May 18 2016. Mary died peacefully in her home in Mountville, PA at the age of 80.
Mary was a graduate of Catawba College and Lancaster Theological Seminary, and served as Pastor to many congregations during her career, including Trinity United Church of Christ (Berlin, PA), Faith UCC (Frederick, MD), Grace UCC (Baltimore, MD), Immanuel UCC (Catonsville, MD) and Trinity Roth’s UCC (Spring Grove, PA). She also served as Admissions Director for Lancaster Theological Seminary for a time, and mentored students of the Seminary.
The hallmarks of Mary’s work as a clergywoman were compassion, grace and an unparalleled ability to listen and understand the needs of her congregants, friends and family. Her empathy and counseling abilities were unmatched, and her ministerial style was nonjudgmental and loving.
Mary’s commitment to family was especially evident during the time she cared for her husband, Robert Hutchens, when he became bedridden after a stroke. The emotionally and physically draining work required to care for Bob during the last years of his life would have been overwhelming for a lesser caregiver, but Mary never complained about the monumental effort needed to help her husband stay as comfortable as was humanly possible.
The parishioners she ministered to knew her simply as “Pastor Mary,” and her grandchildren referred to her as “the perfect grandma.” She loved her grandkids dearly and cared for her daughters-in-law, Amy and Rachel, as if they were both her own children.
She was quick to smile, enjoyed cooking and baking (especially Christmas cookies), was an outstanding seamstress and had a passion for reading and music of many, many genres. She also loved butterflies, especially as a symbol of rebirth through an awakening of faith. Mary was committed to the value system of the United Church of Christ: Mary was “open and affirming” in every sense of the word and believed in the equality and the human dignity of all people.
She was preceded in death by Robert, her parents Samuel and Mary Long and her first husband, Edwin Wenck, Sr. She is survived by her siblings Samuel, Jacob and Martha, her sons Edwin and Eric Wenck and her grandchildren, Oliver, Abigail, Carl and Sam.
A Celebration of Life service for the Rev. Mary Hutchens will take place on Saturday, May 28, at 11:00 AM at Salem United Church of Christ, 2312 Marietta Avenue, Lancaster, PA. Visitation will be held from 10–11 a.m. There will be a luncheon in Salem’s Fellowship Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Salem U.C.C. would be appreciated.