Welcome Gail Underwood Parker, Certified Lay Minister

Welcome Gail Underwood Parker, Certified Lay Minister

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People describe Gail Underwood Parker as a ball of energy, a force of nature, a mentor for every stage of life, and a unique mix of skills, creativity, and practicality. Gail is the author of five published non-fiction books and numerous articles, columns, pamphlets, and teaching materials. A middle school teacher, Gail filled off-school time leading parent training workshops and in community musical theater. After retiring she added speaking on parenting strategies and coaching young writers. Gail is a certified Independent Living Specialist and special education advocate, specializing in transitions and independent living training.          
Always active in churches, Parker learned early to find strength in faith. Gail has served God and her home church as organist, choir director, worship leader, youth educator, and on nurture, outreach, eco, trustee and administrative committees. In 2014, Gail felt an increasing call to work more deeply in the church and began exploring possibilities. In 2017 she applied for a position as summer worship leader for the Craigville Retreat Center in Massachusetts . The next summer she began, her first experience filling a job previously held by ordained pastors. During the pandemic Gail worked from Maine, creating virtual services including Youth Church, Lent and Holy Week. 
Ms. Parker’s success at Craigville confirmed her growing sense of the Holy Spirit’s call to pastoral leadership. Gail seized the “COVID-lockdown” time to take courses in church history, polity and worship. Next came a two-year program through the Neighborhood Seminary to become a Certified Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church. She participated in reading, studies, theological formation, spiritual exploration, and completed monthly missional exploration projects. The PeaceDale Congregational Church in Rhode Island hired Gail as interim pastor in 2022, and that summer she began serving as primary pastor for a team serving in North Sebago and Naples, ME. Gail is excited to begin work as associate pastor for Saco Cornerstone UMC, West Scarborough UMC, and Portland’s Rainbow UMC!
 Surprising Facts about Ms. Parker
 1. Ms. Parker’s great-grandfather was the first Christian missionary to Korea in 1885, financed largely by his brother’s Underwood Typewriter Company. Four generations of Underwoods have served the church in South Korea! ,
 2. Ms. Parker raised children and young adults in her home from 1973 to 2021 when she first experienced an empty nest. She has five children, 15 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. 
3. Ms. Parker teaches voice, piano, and organ at Scarborough’s Fiddlehead Center for the Arts and Science. 
4. Ms. Parker was a professional clown and spent one summer “undercover” as MacDonald’s “Hamburglar” character all over Maine.
Thank you, 
Mary Fifield 
Lay Leader
Cornerstone United Methodist Church
Cell – 207-776-2966

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