Budding minister will lead Westhampton UCC next summer

  • The Rev. Tad Allman-Morton stands outside the Westhampton Congregational United Church of Christ alongside Julia Khan, who is serving as a ministry fellow at the church. Bera Dunau—Gazette Staff

Staff Writer
Published: 10/20/2019 10:51:47 PM

WESTHAMPTON — The Westhampton Congregational United Church of Christ has a new minister who will be temporarily taking over the congregation this summer.

Julia Khan is a ministry fellow at the church, having taken on the role earlier this month. She will be working with Westhampton Congregational’s pastor, the Rev. Tadd Allman-Morton, and when Allman-Morton goes on sabbatical in June, July and August, she will be leading the church until his return.

“I’m a little bit nervous and very excited,” she said, and she is buoyed by the Westhampton’s congregation being very welcoming to her.

Allman-Morton, 52, has been the pastor at Westhampton Congregational for nearly 12 years. Next summer will be his second sabbatical, something the denomination recommends its pastors do every five years.

After growing up in Stowe, Vermont, he came to faith as an adult and joined the United Church of Christ while in seminary. His wife, Carol Allman-Morton, is the minister for the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire.

On his sabbatical, Allman-Morton is planning to work on a labyrinth on the subject of grace that can be brought to different churches.

Khan, 40, grew up in Queens. She is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary and she first came to the Pioneer Valley in 2016 after accepting a chaplain intern position at Soldier On. Khan would then go on to become a chaplain there.

“I really enjoyed working with the veterans,” she said. “For me it was life-giving.”

Khan joined the United Church of Christ while in the Pioneer Valley. She was raised evangelical and then became an Episcopalian in her 20s. She said that the idea that God is still speaking and present in the world drew her to the UCC.

Khan has started the discernment process for ordination in the UCC, and it was while she was engaged in it that she was connected to Allman-Morton and the ministry fellowship. 

Khan and her wife have bought a house in Amherst and intend to make their life in the Pioneer Valley.

“I was ready to live among the trees,” she said.

She also said that she loves new experiences and that it’s important to come to things without many preconceived notions when something is new.

“It’s important always to empty your cup,” she said.

Khan also said she and Allman-Morton have talked about developing a high school youth group.

In terms of her own ministry, Khan said that the idea that God is present in all people and that we’re all made in God’s image moves her, as does God being a God of love.

She also said that she has an attraction to liberation theologies.

“The idea that God is with the marginalized and the oppressed, and trying to make the world a better place,” she said.


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