Tyson new Edenton UMC pastor


Meet Valerie Tyson, the new pastor at Edenton United Methodist Church.


Staff writer

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Good news: there's a new pastor in town. 

Valerie Tyson is the new pastor at Edenton United Methodist Church – welcome!

Tyson is the first lead female pastor at Edenton UMC. On any given Sunday, except for maybe during the height of beach season, between 150-200 souls worship in the pews that include some of the movers and shakers of Chowan County.  

Tyson’s husband Gene is the pastor at Hertford United Methodist Church. Prior to Edenton and Hertford, the couple served as associate pastors at Fuquay-Varina United Methodist Church.

A few months ago, this dynamic duo came in our neck of the woods. On that note, they live in the parsonage in Hertford. 

Back to Valerie, a small town girl who discussed her roots, Scripture and her call to serve the Lord. Growing up in Fairfield in Hyde County, Tyson said, she loved visiting Edenton, so she was very happy when Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, who grew up in nearby Gates County, assigned her to Edenton UMC.  

Question: What drew you to Edenton?

Answer: Cheros Chicken Salad.

Q: So far, what do you like best?

A: Besides the chicken salad? There is a lot to like in Edenton! I can’t pick just one thing. The beautiful old homes, the architecture, the Albemarle Sound, the feel of a quaint, historic town, the interesting little shops and the shop keepers, the people … I can’t pick just one thing.

Q: What is your favorite passage of Scripture?

A: It tends to be whatever passage I happen to be preaching on Sunday! But one that is especially dear to me is John 14:16: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” What a gift to have Holy Spirit with us forever!!! Holy Spirit has the beautiful role of Comforter, Helper, faithful Companion, reminder of all Jesus has said, Teacher, and on and on! So thankful to have the presence of Holy Spirit with us continually!

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a pastor?

A: Being a pastor was not on my radar screen at all! Teaching Sunday School, participating in the United Methodist Women, teaching Bible School, Bible studies, planning fellowship and outreach … all of those things were very fulfilling to me and I was content serving in those roles. However, over a period of several years, God began calling me into pastoral ministry.

I tried very hard to ignore it, resist it, and push it aside. Even after I began the candidacy process to explore the call, I stepped aside from it for a while. The call did not go away! I didn’t really want to be a pastor. It was only after I submitted to the call, became a pastor and had served for several years that I realized this was exactly what I was meant to do….and I love it!

Q: Do you think growing up nearby in Hyde County gives you an understanding of small towns?

A: Oh absolutely. In a small town you know the people and their stories. There is a genuine sense of community. Rural communities have a lot to offer. My roots run deep in Hyde County and I had the best childhood growing up in Fairfield. My family attended Fairfield UMC every Sunday. It was part of the rhythm of our lives. I am so grateful for the many faithful saints, both in the church and the community, who invested in my Christian formation. Without a doubt, there can be rich, vibrant worship in small, rural churches.

Q: Are you glad to be back in eastern NC?

A: Well, yes. I am glad to be back in eastern NC. It’s home. Being a farm girl, I’m glad to be close to the farmland again. The fields are so beautiful.

The Scriptures have many interesting stories about seeds, weeds, soil, growth and harvest. Watching the crops grow in neat rows, long or short, has always been something I paid attention to and found to be nurturing and comforting in some way. I cheer those crops on and say a prayer as I drive by.

I love the water too. The color, the sounds…it’s soothing and really takes your breath sometimes. I love the waterfowl! Who doesn’t the sound of geese honking over your head announcing the arrival of fall? Ahhh…..yes! I am glad to be back in eastern NC!

Staff writer Miles Layton may be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com