The congregation of Cox Memorial UMC officially welcomed their new pastor, the Rev. Nancy Bischoff, on Sunday, July 3, according to a new release from the church. Bischoff returns to Maine having served in Chatham, Massachusetts, at First United Methodist Church for the last five years. Prior to serving on the Cape, Bischoff served churches throughout Maine between 2000 and 2011.

Bischoff lives with her husband Roy in Boothbay Harbor and will travel to Hallowell several days a week, as well as Sundays.

“Cox Memorial is a vibrant, historic church and I look forward to the next chapter of mission and ministry that we’re writing together” said Bischoff of her new appointment, in the release.

The congregation traces its roots back to 1802 with the congregation having worshiped in two different locations until the present building was constructed in 1828. The church is named for the Rev. Melville B. Cox who was the first American Methodist foreign missionary and served in Liberia. The original church was recently made fully handicapped accessible with the addition of a new wing including an elevator, offices and classrooms.

“My first impression of this church family is one of great faithfulness and commitment to serving Hallowell and the surrounding communities by building upon its historic roots while having a heart and a vision for the future” said Bischoff of her new church in the release.

Bischoff graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Northern New Jersey Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She served churches in Northern New Jersey between 1983 and 2000 when she and her husband first moved to Maine. Bischoff has served as the pastor of churches in North Sebago, Columbia, Rockland and Troy. Her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University was in public relations and marketing. She entered the ministry as a second-career pastor having worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Aetna Healthcare and Cisco Systems, where she was the operations manager for the Cisco Networking Academy in the United States and Canada.

Bischoff said, “Even though we will always be ‘from away,’ we are thrilled to be back in Maine and I feel blessed to be serving in the Kennebec region with this wonderful congregation of people,” according to the release.

Sunday worship services are held at 10 a.m. and the church is located at the corner of Central and Middle streets in Hallowell.