Long Hill United Methodist Church has a new minister

You often hear ministers referred to as shepherds, leading their flock. For one Trumbull church this is now more than just a metaphor.

Pastor Dora Janeway Odarenko has been named as the new minister at Long Hill United Methodist Church. Pastor Dora, a longtime Easton resident, is quite comfortable leading people, as well as animals. She is well known in Easton for her years of taking in animals that nobody else wants. Her small farm is currently the home for one sheep, two goats, three donkeys and nine ducks.

It all began years ago when her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. At the time, Dora was a substitute teacher in the Easton-Redding school system and wanted to try to comfort her mother. “I couldn’t save her life, but I wanted to affirm life itself. So, I started taking in these wonderful creatures of God,” says Odarenko. “Local farmers would hear about me and would bring me the creatures that nobody else wanted.”

Pastor Dora was raised on the West Side on Manhattan but loved coming to Connecticut. “My grandfather owned a cabin in Norfolk on Doolittle Lake, and in the 1940’s, we would come from the city to this wonderful small town. It was such an amazing contrast to New York City. I think my formative summers there led me live the past quarter century in Easton.”

Her mother was a musician who instilled in Dora, her passion for learning by their trips to the city’s museums and libraries. “I was a real egg-head,” says Pastor Dora, “It’s probably why I became a teacher.”

She graduated from Barnard College and received a Masters Degree in Literature, and went on to teach at Skidmore College. Pastor Dora went on to teach at other universities, including the University of Bridgeport. From there she decided she wanted to work with younger students and signed on at the New Haven middle schools. It was there she began to hear about another calling.

“I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear this voice calling my name. It happened many times and finally I realized God had something to say to me.” Dora went on and graduated from the Yale Divinity School.

Pastor Dora was appointed to her new position as Pastor at Long Hill United Methodist Church on July 1, succeeding Reverend Austin Park, who has been assigned to a church in Queens, New York.

“One of the wonderful things about coming to this wonderful church is that my commute is now only 10 minutes, much shorter than the drive every day to Gaylordsville.” Pastor Dora added, “It feels like I’m at home. I love this new church.”

Members of Long Hill United Methodist Church will be meeting Pastor Dora’s four-legged friends as she loves to bring them to church, especially around the holidays. “The children love to see the animals and, after all, we are all children of God, aren’t we?”

Long Hill United Methodist Church is located at 6358 Main St., (Route 111) in Trumbull. The summertime Sunday service starts at 9:30 a.m., and will return to 10 a.m., after Labor Day. Pastor Dora hopes to help grow her new church and invites everyone to come join our flock.”