Linda Living Hawley, 61,
affectionately known as “Rev. Red” now heads
the congregation at Tyrone Community Presbyterian
Church at 9141 Hartland Rd. She assumed the
position on Oct. 1.
“The church is old in structure (built in 1879), but brand new in spirit,” she said.
A nurse for more than 40 years, currently part-time at St. Joseph Livingston in Howell, Hawley has switched from saving bodies to saving souls.
Born in Holly and raised in Milford, where she graduated from Milford High School, she and her husband, David “Hoot” Hawley, lived in Highland prior to moving to Rose Township 11 years ago.
They had been members of the White Lake Presbyterian Church. Deciding to find a closer place of worship, the couple drove around the countryside and fell in love with the historic church, which reminded them of the old White Lake Presbyterian Church in which they were married.
“We’ve been members of Tyrone for 10 years, ” said Hawley. “We met warm and wonderful people and I felt I’d found a home. I served as an elder and Dave now serves as an elder and supervises the building and grounds.”
In 2001, Hawley underwent a mastectomy, and it was during this time that she felt a calling to the ministry.
“When I began working with hospice patients, I learned about faith. The spirit was so intact. They appreciate all that they have and are very strong, spiritually,” said Hawley.
She said Laura Kelsey, the former pastor at Tyrone, helped her make strides to enter Lake Huron Presbytery School of CLP (commissioned lay pastor). During the 2 1/2 years of study, she interned at White Lake Presbyterian Church for six months, under the direction of Pastor Debbie Kerr.
“While attending school, I often filled in a Tyrone’s pulpit on Sunday, ” said the new pastor of the 50-member congregation.
The Hawleys have no children, but own two dogs. “At present I have rescued about 16 cats, people drop them off out where we live. I think I’ve put a wing on the Companion Animal Hospital in Linden through the medical visits I’ve made there.”
Since coming on board, Hawley has started a pantry for those in need of food. She has dubbed it “Wanda’s Pantry,” in honor of her mother, who suggested the idea.
“Our church is a faith-based, Bible based, loving congregation,” said Hawley.
She was told to make people thirsty for what she has to offer. “Love one another,” she said.
Hawley hopes to join the Fenton Area Clergy. She said she also would like to start advent by Candlelight for the women, Patterned after the annual programs offered the first week in Advent for women at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church and Trinity Lutheran Church.