“I never wanted to go into the ministry,” said Pastor Josh Yorks. “That summer I wrestled with my call. I took lots of walks in the woods, but avoided certain trees that looked like they might fall over.”
Those sound like strange words. What does walking in the woods and worrying about trees falling over have to do with contemplating whether or not to go into the ministry?
Many people in the Troy community have already gotten to know the new pastor at Holy Trinity Church on Redington Avenue; how dynamic he is. But not many people know what he went through to get here.
Both his mother and father were pastors. Growing up in the York / Harrisburg area, Pastor Yorks listened to his father’s stories. According to Pastor Yorks’ memories of those stories, his father had accidents that resulted in two death certificates. Don’t worry; his father is still alive. But he was run over by vehicles twice. Twice he was thought dead by EMT’s and twice he sat up in body bags talking to those EMT’s. And at least one of those times his wounds had healed by the time he arrived at the hospital.
“When God talks to my family, he hits us over the head with a sledge hammer,” said Pastor Yorks, who added that he didn’t want anything to do with what his father had gone through.
Pastor Yorks felt he was much like his father, but didn’t really want to follow in his footsteps.
During the summer between his junior and senior years of college he was at a going away party for his mother when the pull to become a minister, though just a feeling, was a very strong pull. It was that summer that his wrestling with the “call” became a decision to enter the ministry.
He finished his senior year at Albion College in Michigan and took a year off. Then he attended Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia for three years.
In July 2011, although he was still in seminary, Pastor Yorks was appointed to the Calvary United Methodist Church in Waymart, Pa. In August 2011, he married Susan, whom he had met during college. They resided in Waymart. As a result of the distance, he had to drive 333 miles one way between Harrisonburg and Waymart. He drove to Waymart every Thursday and back to Harrisonburg on Mondays. He worked on his sermons while driving, since he didn’t find it necessary to type them.
In 2012 he added the Presbyterian Church in Waymart to his assignments. Then on Jan. 1 of the following year their son was born.
Pastor Yorks officially graduated from seminary in August 2013. Finally, he no longer had the long commute.
In 2015, he was appointed to Bedford United Methodist Church (UMC), and in 2016 he was appointed to Mehoopany UMC, including Jenningsville and Forkston.
“For three of the last four years I was on the front page of the Wyoming County Examiner for carrying a cross through Tunkhannock on Good Friday, dressed as Jesus,” said Pastor Yorks. “I’ve done a Jesus portrayal every year, including riding a donkey through Waymart. That’s why the ponytail.”
In February 2019 he traveled to Israel with 24 other pastors from all over our country to renew his baptism in the Jordan River. While there he also did a baptism for one of the other pastors.
In July 2019 he was appointed to Holy Trinity United Methodist Church in Troy, where he has been getting involved in the Troy community. He has been involved in Cub Scouts with his oldest son. He is also involved with the Masons and the Troy Area Council of Churches.
He can often be seen walking around Troy wearing a large backpack with his youngest son in it.
He has been working with the merger of the First United Methodist Church of Troy and the East Troy UMC that is still taking place. He is also the pastor of Windfall UMC.
Pastor Yorks enjoys being a part of the activities going on at the Holy Trinity Church in Troy, including Bonnie Bell’s art classes, the Snack & Sack Program and Music and Movement.
“I’m a small town country boy,” said Pastor Yorks. “I love being here.”
Most of all, he loves visiting and being out in the woods.
“I don’t worry about the trees anymore,” said Pastor Josh Yorks. “I’ve followed God’s calling.”