Larry Hakes has served as pastor for the Darlington and Fayette United Methodist Churches for the past 12 years, but that time will be coming to a close at the end of June as the Hakes prepare to move to West Virginia and a new congregation.
During his time in Darlington Hakes has been extremely involved with many aspects of the community including: school board, library board, Rural Medical Ambulance Service, Belmont Ambulance Service, the mobile food pantry, chamber board, Cinco de Mayo, Coordinated Service Team, Lafayette County Crisis Coordinated Team, Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee, Prevent Suicide Wisconsin and Prevent Suicide—Lafayette County. Hakes has also been very involved in supporting the accomplishments of young people in the community.
Hakes said he has always loved the city of Darlington’s various festivals and how the city pulls together to do things around those times.
“The community is a very friendly and great place to be and there are some great people here,” said Hakes. “And we obviously value the friendships and the relationships with people that we’ve developed here.”
Hakes noted that he has felt privileged to serve the church here and that the group of churches in the area has been great to work with.
Hakes and his wife Elizabeth will be leaving Darlington on June 23 for Petersburg, W.V., where Hakes will serve as pastor for the Grove Street United Methodist Church and Hedrick Chapel. Petersburg is a small town in West Virginia with a population of around 3,000 people and also a county seat, making it very comparable to Darlington.
Hakes said that his new congregation was looking for someone with the talents that he has used in Darlington for the past several years, and that he plans to continue much of the work he has been doing here, in West Virginia.
“They have a food pantry and a strong ecumenical program as well as a VBS program for all ages, all the way up to adults, which will be a new experience for me,” said Hakes.
Another new experience for Hakes will be making use of PowerPoint presentations to accompany worship services at his new congregation.
“Darlington has talked about moving in that direction as well, but we haven’t quite gotten there yet,” he said. “It’s a seed that whoever comes in can develop.”
Hakes explained that he hopes to get involved with the community of Petersburg, just as he has in Darlington.
“I believe that people should give back to the community where they live in some way,” he said.
Hakes said he is looking forward to the new experience and added that a change in leadership in the Darlington church will hopefully be the opportunity for someone else to have a new experience and develop new things.