The Rev. Jacquie Patt is just finishing up her first month as pastor at Old Steeple Community Church on Main Road in Aquebogue. A Michigan native, the Rev. Patt, 57, joins the church as the first woman minister in its 250-year history.
Faith had always been a part of her life, she said, but it wasn’t until overcoming breast cancer that she knew it was her calling.
“It was found very early on, which the doctor described as a fluke and a blessing that it was found,” she said. “I was helping others through that experience and I didn’t know what the future held, but I knew that God was with me.”
Prior to becoming a church leader, she undertook medical research at the National Institutes of Health. She worked for corporations in computer hardware and software support and served as a project manager for General Motors, overseeing about 20 people.
At age 48, she entered seminary full-time, deciding to leave her career for the church.
“It was a leap of faith,” the Rev. Patt said.
Q: How did your experience with cancer affect your faith?
A: During my recuperation and recovery, I would sit on my couch and would think, “What brings me more meaning and purpose to life?” I had become a bit tired of my job. The things I liked to do were all related to the church — helping people grow, visiting people — and sometime during the following year one of my pastors said, “Maybe you are being called to ordained ministry.”
Q: What do you hope to bring to Old Steeple Community Church as its first woman minister?
A: For me, I don’t see it as being any different than as someone else coming in. I just want to help them learn and grow on their journey of faith. I’ll use my previous work, personal and faith experiences to bring growth and learning.
Q: What was it about the community that drew you to Old Steeple Community Church?
A: “I was looking all across the country, and this looked like an interesting place. It was intriguing to me. When I arrived, the people were very welcoming, friendly. They have a long history of being together. It is a well-rounded, well-grounded group of people.
Q: Can you share something interesting about yourself? A fun fact?
A: I used to play a lot of golf, and I got a hole in one. It was at the second hole, a 97-yard par 3. I got it the summer after my cancer surgery. A couple of my friends were very focused on getting me back out on the golf course. It was part of my recovery.