“I think Rusty was assigned here to provide the congregation with a sense of stability,” said Jan Juntunen, a member of EPUMC for more than 25 years. “Rusty has been very kind to people both inside the church and outside the church who had pastoral needs. He walks in faith. He’s sincere in his faith.”
In addition, she said, all on his own, Davis got involved in the community, serving its needs in many ways.
Davis was on the advisory board of Pettengill House, the social service agency headquartered across the street from East Parish Meetinghouse, and worked with Link House and at the Salisbury senior center, where he offered his help teaching a computer course as well as conducting seminars on bereavements.
He’s also the chaplain for the Byfield Fire Department.
One of the high points in his time at EPUMC came in September 2009, when he was part of a historic moment in the life of the congregation.
“It was an honor for me to be here and celebrate the 175th anniversary of this church,” Davis said.
Davis was the 82nd pastor to lead the congregation of Methodists, who had united with the Congregationalists in 1834 and built the current meetinghouse at 8 Lafayette Road at the entrance to Salisbury Square.
It was constructed on the foundation of a previous church that was built in 1723. Many believe it’s the oldest religious congregation in the country continually worshiping in the same church.
Davis said he’s pleased that he’s been able to help those in his congregation grow in their faith and comfort those grieving over the loss of loved ones.
Davis believes the congregation is one of the most vibrant in the region with an attendance at services that’s grown over the years.
“I love this congregation,” Davis said. “This is still going to be home to me. I love these people. I’ll be back.”