June 17, 2018 will be an emotional day at the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston. Pastor Ed Horne will preach his last sermon that Sunday. After forty years as a church pastor in Connecticut and New York, 16 of those years serving in his current church on Rabbit Hill in Westport, Ed Horne will retire and move to Goshen, CT.


The members of the congregation are happy for Pastor Ed and his wife Sara and are forthcoming about his gifts.  Dan Gelman, chairperson of the Church Council, said, “My connection with Pastor Ed has been an important element in the growth of my faith. From his meaningful sermons and Bible study, to his spiritual involvement in every area of the church, it has been a joy to follow the footsteps of Jesus with Pastor Ed. He’s been an inspiration for many of us!”


When asked what Rev. Horne considers his greatest accomplishments during his time at the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, he doesn’t hesitate. “The expansion of our mission programs, our community outreach, has been very important for the church. And I’m also proud of the programs we have developed for our children and youth.”

“Our work for Habitat for Humanity outreach is now done through a United Methodist coalition called HomeBuild where many Methodist churches work together on a project. We have also become a member congregation of the Bridgeport Council of churches and all of their mission projects.”


Pastor Ed continues, “For our youth we have participated for many years in United Methodist Action Reachout Mission by Youth—we call it UMARMY---which is a program where high school students go on a domestic mission trip together. We have had great success with this program as the students come back very energized! In addition, the mission and education committees of the church have worked to involve the children in as much mission work as is age appropriate. So we have the younger children doing food collections and the older children helping at the soup kitchen, fund raising for mission projects and of course Habitat for Humanity. The goal is to have the children experience hands on mission or outreach work.”




“One of the more satisfying outreach programs has been spearheading a resettlement project for a Syrian refugee family. Many people in the church have dedicated themselves to helping this family settle in a home, find jobs and schools and get medical care,” Pastor Ed explains.


Rev. Horne is also proud of the change in worship over the years. Instead of focusing only on a traditional service with sacred music every Sunday, Pastor Horne and his staff have integrated a more modern program of music and worship at various times. He explains, “Some Sundays we have a traditional choir, some Sundays a praise band and some Sundays a jazz trio. We’ve also involved our children and youth more in the worship experience, as we have sought to become an even more intergenerational congregation.  It keeps things exciting!”


Rev. Horne has also been very active in the community. He chaired the Westport Human Service Commission and was a member of the Baron’s South Committee that attempted to build senior housing on that property. He has been member of the Westport-Weston Clergy Association and the Westport Sunrise Rotary, heading up its youth services efforts.  

He also served as the long-time chair of the Interfaith Council, a group of lay and clergy representing most of the houses of worship in Westport and Weston. In this capacity Rev. Horne helped to initiate Westport-Weston’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in 2004 and for the past three years has served as chair of the committee, which includes participation from the Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, the Westport Public Library and the Westport-Weston Y. This year’s event, held again at the Westport Country Playhouse, had a record attendance of over 500!


Pastor Horne says that he will stay involved in ministry in his denomination and his community during his retirement.  He explained, “I will continue my service to the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church on the Strategic Leadership Team that seeks to revitalize churches.” He also has a special interest in finding avenues for community service in Northwestern CT, especially for the poor and families in need.


When asked what the future holds when he no longer has a church to oversee every day, Rev. Horne smiles and explains the first priority is to get settled in their home in Goshen.  With their daughter living and working in Boston and their son in New York City, Pastor Ed and his wife, Rev. Sara Goold, will have time to enjoy the outdoors in Northwestern CT and plan some travel together, especially to places of spiritual significance. Sara will continue her work as a pastoral psychotherapist and Ed hopes to “play a lot of tennis and 



golf!”  Then he added, “And of course catch up on my pile of books to read!”


In summary, Pastor Horne will be leaving behind a long list of accomplishments when he finally steps down from the pulpit on June 17. One of the most significant being his leadership of the UMC Westport and Weston initiative to become a Welcoming Church open to people of all lifestyles, economic conditions and circumstances, particularly those in the LGBT community who have been excluded from participation in many churches. As Brian Brumit, a longtime member said, “Ed Horne’s leadership will be greatly missed by all at our Church. Ed was passionate in teaching us that Jesus is always relevant, and that our journey to know Jesus puts us on the path to live life at the highest level. Ed challenged us to truly be a welcoming congregation to EVERYONE and to extend that welcome and share Christ’s blessings to those beyond the walls of our church set on Rabbit Hill.”



About United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston

The United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston is a 225 year-old congregation located at 49 Weston Road in Westport, CT (sitting on what is affectionately known as “Rabbit Hill"). The church is best described through its vision of creating an open and welcoming fellowship that communicates God's love for all people, with a diverse membership that goes into the world to spread that love in both words and deeds. Respected as both a unifying and hospitable presence in both local communities, UMC Westport & Weston is held together by the congregation's desire to know, to live,                and to share the love of Jesus with all who are  interested. Learn more about the church at


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22 Mar 2018