STONINGTON — Joshua A. McClure has found a new ministry. Six months after retiring as pastor of Westerly’s Pleasant Street Baptist Church, McClure has taken over the presidency of the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center’s board of directors.
Well known for his outreach efforts in Westerly’s North End and beyond, McClure said he sees his duties with the neighborhood center as a continuation of his 32-year service on Pleasant Street. “This is a ministry here,” he said.
McClure takes over for June Strunk, who served as president for roughly three years.
“She’s been a wonderful person to have at the helm,” said Vicki Anderson, the center’s executive director. “You just can’t help but be impressed by her.” Strunk also serves on Stonington’s Board of Finance.
The transition to McClure, who has served on the board for over a decade, will be a “seamless change,” Anderson said.
McClure initially began serving on the board, he recalled, because he was impressed by the work the agency performed in the community, helping families in need in Westerly, Stonington, and North Stonington.
“They’ve been doing a tremendous job serving Westerly and Connecticut,” he said.
He credited the volunteers who help provide the center’s many programs. “That’s what drives it, the volunteers,” he said.
Although he hasn’t yet had time to reflect on the possibilities of his new position, he said one of his objectives will be to increase outreach, especially to young people in the community.
“How can we do more than we’re doing,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
McClure, 82, will likely continue in the position for as long as his health holds up, he said.
“We’re very fortunate we have Rev. McClure on the board,” Anderson said, adding that he both understands and cares about the center’s dual mission as a human-services agency and senior center. She noted the strong leadership that McClure demonstrated at Pleasant Street Baptist Church.
“Josh is a very strong, well-respected leader,” she said. “He led Pleasant Street to growth that many never thought possible.”
McClure recalled a vision from 1976 that first led him into the ministry. He saw a wall of pain-filled faces, and he knew that God wanted him to help those people. That vision led him to Pleasant Street, and now it’s leading him to the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.
“This is what I have to do with my life,” he said.
Visit the-pnc.org for more information on the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.