When Carmel Christian Church had an opening, former student pastor Gale Stutz was eager to return.
“It was a wonderful decision,” Stutz said. “Probably a third of the people that are here now know me from when I was a student pastor here. It was very much like coming home.”
Stutz, a north Indianapolis resident, started as senior minister Sept. 20, replacing Jerry Zehr, who retired in June.
Stutz was a student pastor from 2004 to 2007 while earning her Master of Divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Disciples of Christ requires two years of field education, but Stutz spent four years at Carmel Christian. She was ordained at Carmel Christian in 2007.
“It was a second career, and we all have to start out as students,” Stutz said. “I was previously in restaurant management, and then I became a mom.”
Now, she’s focused on ministry.
“My home church is Allisonville Christian Church, where the seeds of ministry were planted,” said Stutz, who has four adult children and one grandchild with her husband, Tom.
After she was ordained, Stutz served as associate pastor of First Friends Quaker Church in Indianapolis for five years. She said Quakers and Disciples of Christ are similar denominations.
Stutz then served as senior minister of Franklin Central Christian Church in Indianapolis for seven years. She added Eastgate Christian Church as well for 2 1/2 years.
“They are 11 minutes apart, and it was very doable to do two churches,” Stutz said. “Then we had a pandemic, and serving two churches in a pandemic was hard. I had a desire to serve one church again.”