So far, Wayne Wood has had a busy retirement.
For 17 years, Wood worked in agriculture in the Weeksville area while also serving as pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church in Shiloh.
Then in July, he also became pastor at three other United Methodist churches in the area: Camden United Methodist, Trinity United Methodist in South Mills, and Sharon United Methodist, which also is in South Mills.
Ministering to four different congregations at the same time may seem challenging. But Wood said he looks forward to meeting with the congregations at each church.
“It’s a good feeling for me,” he said.
He begins each Sunday at Sharon UMC at 9 a.m. He then ministers at Trinity UMC at 10 a.m. and then at Camden UMC around 11:15 a.m. Currently an associate pastor is leading services at Wesley UMC, but Wood hopes to be able to pastor at his home church at least once a month.
Modern communications help a lot. When he is not able to meet with church members individually, Wood stays in touch with them through texts, emails and phone calls.
Whether it is a baptism, funeral or wedding, Wood participates in some of the most critical times in people’s lives.
He said one pastor offered him advice years ago to help people who have lost a loved one and are grieving: “Just love them through it.” He said he still tries to follow that advice.
As for those other life-changing events, he says “weddings are an honor” and “baptisms are an awesome feeling to provide that service to someone.”
Wood said he often looks to 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4 verses 16-18 to help others during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the New International Translation of the Bible, those verses say the following:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
When he’s counseling others through challenges, Wood said he often offers this advice: “Some bad things that happen draw you closer to God. They are only tragic if you don’t learn from them.”
While Wood has been a pastor a long time, it wasn’t his first calling. Originally from Virginia, Wood moved to North Carolina in 1984 and opened a ballroom dance studio in Elizabeth City. Wood has taught ballroom dancing for more than 30 years and he continues to ballroom dance when he has the chance. His favorite dance is the cha-cha-cha.
When he’s not pastoring, Wood enjoys spending time with his two daughters.
For more information about the churches Wood serves, visit their Facebook pages.