'Delightful Dunedin' Title Goes to Presbyterian Pastor
Rev. Victoria ByRoade of First Presbyterian Church was recently honored with the Dunedin Chamber's Beatrice Donahue Delightful Dunedin Award.
After 13 years of service to parishioners and the community, Rev. Victoria ByRoade, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, was honored recently by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce with its Beatrice Donahue Delightful Dunedin Award.
"I knew that I had been nominated the last two years, but not this year," she said. "So, yes, it was a surprise. I had been invited to offer the invocation that evening, but really had no idea there was another purpose for my attendance."
Born in Wilmington, DE, the oldest of six children, she first became acquainted with the city several years ago, when her grandparents retired here, and she often visited them with her husband.
"My husband was really the one who learned that First Church was looking for an associate pastor” in 1999, ByRoade said. She remembered how beautiful Dunedin was and decided to interview for the position.
“In the Presbyterian tradition, a church and pastor choose each other, after receiving informational packets from the denomination. Both the church and we (she and her husband) recognized what a good fit we were for each other. I was installed first as co-pastor with Rev. Marty Hager in 1999, then as pastor, when Marty retired in 2002,” she said.
“Moving to Dunedin and accepting the call to serve First Presbyterian Church was one of the best decisions my husband and I have ever made. The church is beautiful; ‘The only thing more beautiful is the congregation’ is something I am fond of saying. And I say it with all honesty. I love Dunedin, too. It is a small town with a big heart and people who really care about one another,” she added.
ByRoade said she has had so many memorable experiences as pastor, it's hard to choose just a couple that stand out.
"I have been here long enough now that I have watched many of the children in our church family go off to college," she said. "I have also been blessed with helping young couples get off to a good start in their marriages; after getting to know them and spending time with them, many of them have then become a part of the church family. Some of them have children that I have had the pleasure of baptizing.”
The pastor said she has seen plenty of positive changes in the community since she began her service, from the building of a new community center and visitors' center on Honeymoon Island to the addition of the Jolley Trolley.
“One of the most recent exciting changes is that all three downtown churches now have female clergy. The three of us have already joined hands to serve the area youth, to do local mission work, and just this past week we were a team in the first Live Nativity as a part of the Old Fashioned Christmas Event.”
As for future plans, ByRoade said, “my hope is that First Church and I will continue our long and good relationship; that we would find ways to reach people in our community who refer to themselves as 'spiritual, but not religious.'