|Source: Baptist Press|
Georgia native Gerald Hunt and his family of nine relocated to Vermont in response to a request from the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE) to assist communities suffering from a shortage of pastors.
Hunt has always wanted to visit the “Green Mountain State.” He recalled, “Ever since I was in elementary school, I was fascinated with that state [and] I didn’t really know why, but now I do.”
Relocating with his wife, Susan, and their seven children, Hunt packed the family and made the more than 16-hour drive from Comer, Georgia to Stowe, Vermont arriving on November 16. In his new vocation, Hunt will serve as the associate pastor of Grace Bible Church in Stowe.
Hunt said his decision to become a pastor was “prayerful.” Prior to answering the call to vocational ministry, Hunt served as a district manager overseeing several chicken houses. However, after listening to representatives from the local Baptist convention talking about the importance of building missional connections that included the possibility of joining desperately-needed evangelical work, he felt convicted.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, a non-profit think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., Vermont is one the least religious states in the United States and two of its counties are in the top ten for the highest number of religiously unaffiliated Americans.
During a conversation with Russ Rathier, BCNE Regional Coordinator for Vermont, Hunt said he felt led to work in a rural setting.
“Russ talked about the state’s small, rural churches and that kind of hit my heart pretty hard,” Hunt remembered.
State COVID-19 regulations complicated the timing of when Hunt and his family would be able to relocate. However, undeterred even prior to relocating Hunt began joining other Vermont pastors on regularly scheduled Zoom calls.
Despite Hunt’s profession as a businessman, this is not his first stint in vocational ministry. In the past he has served as both a pastor and associate pastor assisting with a church plant in the State of New York.
In August, the Hunt’s and two of their children took an eight day tour of Stowe and the surrounding communities staying in the congregation’s parsonage that now serves as their home.
Additionally, Hunt notes the support of his wife, Susan has been vital. Because Susan works for an online children’s clothing company that allows her to work from home, the Hunts move to Vermont caused no disruption in her employment.
Now in Vermont, Hunt said, “I am home. Wherever Jesus leads you, that’s your home. I can’t say I wish I was in Georgia for Christmas because that’s not where the Lord placed me. I have to submit to His leadership and to His authority. This will be my home until He moves me again.”
Source: Baptist Press