After years spent working in real estate, mortgage banking and as a business entrepreneur, having started her own human resources firm, Pastor Barbara Gross didn’t know the next chapter in her life would the ministry.
“I never thought I’d be a minister,” said Gross. “It was the biggest surprise to me of all.”
The Fredericksburg pastor will soon be leading Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church and Mineral United Methodist Church, after being appointed minister to the Mineral – Mt. Pleasant Charge by Bishop Young Jin Cho of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Church has a unique system of assigning pastors to churches. A cabinet comprised of 15 district superintendents each have an area that consists of churches and pastors and they [the superintendents] report to the bishop. The process takes approximately four months in Virginia.
Gross joins the community after serving as a minister at Grottoes UMC in Grottoes. She will begin her duties by leading services at both churches beginning Sunday, June 30.
The new pastor succeeds outgoing Pastor Bryan C. Buckles, who during his three-year tenure aided in spiritual growth, expanded community service in both churches, and led the rebuilding effort at Mineral UMC after the 2011 earthquake.
Raised in a military family, Gross grew up in Fredericksburg. She later graduated magna cum laude with a master of divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and has been in pastoral ministry for 17 years.
“God called me to be in ministry. It isn’t a decision that you make, it’s a call that God places on your heart and you respond to it,” Gross said of her decision to join the ministry.
Gross’ husband of 27 years, David Lagerveld, is also a second career pastor, as was recently appointed to serve Zion Union Methodist Church in Troy.
“His grandfather told him from a very young age that he’d be a pastor,” Gross said.
Prior to his career in ministry, Lagerveld spent 28 years in law enforcement in Prince William County and in the Department of the Navy in Crystal City.
The couple has five children and two grandchildren.
Mineral United Methodist Church and Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church are “proud of their tradition of service with open minds, open hearts, and open doors.”
“I have found that the best thing to do when arriving at a new church is to take about six months or so and just settle in,” Gross said. “Every church is unique; every church has a special thing that they like to work with. I like to take some time and get to know the churches before we decide a vision for the future.”
Sunday services are held at 9:15 a.m. at Mt. Pleasant UMC, located at 3091 Mt. Pleasant Road, near the intersection of Chalk Level and Mansfield Roads. Mineral UMC is located at 301 West Third Street in Mineral, with Sunday services at 11 a.m.