Dear Members and Friends of Union Church –
On behalf of the Executive Committee and the Interim Pastor Search Committee, we are pleased to announce that Nancy Bancroft has been chosen to serve as our Interim Pastor. Nancy brings with her a strong educational background, a wide range of both work and civic experience, and a love for the Lord that will sustain us beautifully over the term of her ministry at Union Church.
Nancy and Tom have been attending our church for nearly a year, and became members of Union Church early in 2015. With their home in Saco, the transition to an interim Pastor role will be simplified, as housing needs and continued use of the church office will facilitate the transition.
If you were in church this morning, you met Nancy, heard Paul Schlaver’s announcement and Jan’s endorsement of her selection. We wanted all members and friends to know today of this decision.
May the Lord continue to bless our church with favor as we grow individually in our understanding and faith.
Bob Sherman and Paul Schlaver, Co-Moderators
In preparation for Nancy Bancroft becoming the Interim Pastor of Union church. We thought that you’d all appreciate knowing her background.
Nancy is a REAL Mainer; born and brought up in Lewiston-Auburn. She began taking her spirituality seriously through a youth group experience that began when she was in junior high. She began daily meditation, weekly visits to nursing homes, and teaching Sunday school. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph right after graduating from a boarding high school right in our back yard -South Berwick.
Convent life began with a three year formation program involving theology courses and a life of prayer. Nancy then did parish work in Dexter Maine before being sent to St. Louis, MO where she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and theology. It was then that, after seven years, she left the convent. She returned to Maine and began working at what was then the Augusta Mental Health Institute, where she met a handsome fellow worker, Tom.
Tom and Nancy moved to Chicago where they took turns supporting each other through graduate school (Counseling Psychology for Professionals in Religion at Loyola University). They were married in a Lutheran church. Tom was Lutheran at the time and the Pastor was Nancy’s classmate at Loyola. After receiving her Master’s Degree Nancy worked as a team leader on the psychiatric unit of a teaching hospital in Chicago and gave birth to Christopher.
As soon as Tom got his Master’s Degree the couple returned to Maine where Andrew was soon born. Tom worked as Director of Milestone Foundation in Old Orchard and then York County Counseling in Sanford while Nancy served as Director of Counseling at Crossroads, a residential substance abuse program for women, in Windham.
The couple then moved to China, Maine. Nancy worked first as a counselor and then director of New Directions, a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for women and their families with offices in Kennebec and Somerset counties. After five years her former provincial superior contacted her and asked that she get licensed for private practice. The sister told Nancy that there was a need for someone to counsel religious and clergy who understood religious life and respected spirituality as a significant part of human wellbeing. Nancy agreed, completed the requirements for licensure and opened a private practice doing individual, couples, family and group therapy. She also gave workshops, retreats, provided training and clinical supervision, and taught psychology courses at Kennebec Valley Technical College, University of Maine in Augusta, and University of Southern Maine.
To continue her own personal and professional development, Nancy took a graduate course each summer for ten years, receiving a Certificate in Advanced Specialization (CAS) in spiritual and moral development from St. Michael’s Graduate School of Theology in Winooski, VT.
During this time Tom was working for the Department of Human Services in Augusta, first as a caseworker, then supervisor, and finally as administrator. He started the adult guardianship program in the state and was the first and only designated representative of the Commissioner for all incapacitated adults needing a guardian in the State. He also started and managed the HIV/Aids program in Maine which included a respite summer program for children whose parents had HIV/Aids. He then transferred to the Maine Foster Care Program where he was instrumental in changing the state regulations to allow gay and lesbian couples to be foster parents.
All during this time, Tom and Nancy were active in their Church in Waterville Maine, serving as Eucharistic ministers and on the Parish Council. During this time Nancy taught adult religious education, led Vespers and other religious services, preached retreats, journeyed with people who were dying and led committal services.
When both of their children were in college (Christopher at Wheaton in MA and Andrew at Wesleyan in CT) Nancy found the time to return to school and acquire a PhD in Ethics. Through her counseling she had become increasingly interested in decision-making and how it impacted society. After her graduation Tom and Nancy moved to Saco where they built an aging-friendly home near Camp Ellis. Nancy continued her counseling practice in space at Marie Joseph Spiritual Life Center in Biddeford Pool, and taught ethics at UNE medical school. She then was hired by Trinity Health, a large nation-wide health system, to serve as their ethicist. This required her to commute to Michigan and return home only for week-ends. During this time Tom was commuting between Augusta and Saco. The travel became increasingly difficult for both of them. Tom left his state employment and returned to his first love, direct service, working as a caseworker for Counseling Services Inc. with clients in Biddeford and Saco. After five years with Trinity Health, Nancy returned home and began working for the Sisters of Mercy. For the last eight years she has worked with the Boards and executive leadership of sixteen of their ministries in the North Eastern States (schools, nursing homes, retreat centers, and social service agencies) to help them be successful and remain true ministries, not just businesses doing good things, as they transition to lay leadership.
Last Easter Tom and Nancy attended Union Church for the first time. They loved the experience and have been coming ever since. They joined the church this past summer. Also, this past year Nancy sensed that her work within the Mercy community was completed and that something new was in the offing. She quit her position this past August. It was then as the Church prepared for Jan’s retirement that Nancy felt an increasingly strong urging to apply for the Interim Pastor position. She believed that all of her past experiences had prepared her to lead the church during this time of transition. After reviewing the applications of seven candidates and interviewing four, the search committee concurred.
Tom retired from his professional life a few years ago but remains active as a Board Member and teacher at York County Senior College, as a certified Hospice volunteer, as a master gardener, and as a grandfather. Despite these activities he is available and eager to assist and support Nancy as she embarks on her new vocation.
Nancy brings a wealth of experience, an engaging presence, boundless positive energy, wonderful organizational skills, a deep faith in God and a love for Union Church. She is a visionary who thinks outside the box….a good fit for Union Church. Nancy will be ordained by the church sometime in December and will begin her work as Interim on January 18th, after my last Sunday, January 17tt. Blessings, Jan