By Jacob Mahaffey
There is a new face in the pulpit at Union Hill United Methodist Church.
While Larry Carnes is not a new face to the pulpit, a career path he chose in 2001, he is new to Sugarcreek. Carnes was born in Akron but at the age of two, his family moved to the Newark area. He graduated from Utica High School. It was during his high school years that he met and dated his future wife, Linda. “I was two years older than she was,” he explained. “She caught my eye while we were still in school. We dated for a while then after I graduated I headed off on my own way.” Carnes attended Ohio State, however, he found out the college life wasn’t for him. He returned home and found Linda again. “I decided to go back and see if Linda was still around,” he quipped. “We have been married for 38 years.”
Carnes was attending Utica United Methodist Church when he was called into the ministry after being a sheet metal worker for 22 years. His pastor at the time was Ric Harvel. “He was a mission-minded person and I attached myself to him,” Carnes said. “He was really willing to work with me and talk with me, not just about church stuff. I developed a really cool relationship with him.”
During that time Carnes began to hear a call to ministry. “You’ve got the wrong guy,” Carnes said he told God. But it was God’s plan that started to unfold. After several work injuries and a heart attack, Carnes heard God loud and clear. He dialed 911 and while he waited, the Lord spoke. “During that time of waiting, I vividly remember seeing the Lord with my heart in his hand,” he explained. “He said to me ‘Are you ready to do what I asked you to do?’ and that’s the last thing I remember.”
Carnes ministry began at Brinkhaven UMC before going to Sparta in 2002. After 10 years there, he was at Nashville UMC until being called to Union Hill.
Carnes can trace his passion for ministry back to his heart attack. “When I was laying on the floor in that bathroom I couldn’t think of anyone else than the people I didn’t tell about the Lord,” Carnes explained. “I need to make sure I can tell as many people as I can about the love of Jesus.”
In addition to his wife Linda, Carnes also has a son Justin. Justin is married to Tiffany and together they have six children. “God made up for us not having more than one child with grandchildren,” he said.
In his spare time, he enjoys playing drums, a passion he has had since he was seven, and oil painting.
When asked how he feels about being at Union Hill, Carnes said he is excited. “I see so many opportunities for more ministry outside of the church,” he shared.
Carnes is also enjoying his first few weeks in the greater Sugarcreek area. “I must say it’s kind of laid back,” he observed. “I really appreciate that. I am not a high tempo guy.”
This story originally appeared in the August 1, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.