Charlotte Wright’s office at the Chilmark Community Church is filled with other people’s belongings. On a sunny afternoon this week, she leaned back into a flower-print couch surrounded by books, bins and other items. Behind her, an open door looked out on an ancient stone wall and rolling lawn at Beetlebung Corner.

“None of this stuff is mine,” she said, noting that the church has long been in a state of flux as ministers have come and gone. The most recent ministers, a duo comprised of Vicky and Armen Hanjian, are retiring after two years at the church. Mrs. Wright is beginning to settle in as the church’s first permanent pastor in years.

She will deliver her first sermon at the church on Sunday, July 2.

Over her two decades with the United Church of Christ, Mrs. Wright has seen her share of transition, serving mostly as an interim minister at churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Arizona. In some ways, she said, the Chilmark Community Church was a match made in heaven.

New Pastor has served as an interim minister throughout New England. — Mark Lovewell

A couple of years ago, Mrs. Wright and her husband, Don, simplified their lives, selling most of their belongings and moving from Connecticut to Shelburne Falls. A year later, they decided to give Oak Bluffs a try in the off-season. The move to the Island marked something of a full circle. She has been visiting the Island since the 1970s, working summers in college and later vacationing here with her family. And it was the Rev. James Lambert Kidd, a summer resident of Oak Bluffs, who first encouraged her to look into seminary in the 1990s.

While on the Island, Mrs. Wright met some of the pastors here, including Mr. and Mrs. Hanjian, and soon discovered that Chilmark was looking for a new pastor.

“Where else can you see cows grazing and the ocean view?” she said, noting one feature that drew her to the small community church. “You don’t get all of that traffic that you would get in a down-Island town,” she added. She admits she was also drawn to Chilmark Chocolates down the road.

Last Sunday, a group of parishioners helped the Wrights move into the parsonage just across the lawn from the church. After relocating twice in as many years, Mrs. Wright said she was relieved to finally settle down with all her belongings under one roof.

Although she grew up in a religious family and enjoyed the church community, it was only after she married and had a son in her 30s that Mrs. Wright began seriously exploring her faith. She joined Mr. Kidd’s church in Hartford, and discovered a passion for Bible studies and Christian education. When Mr. Kidd suggested she look into seminary, she laughed, but eventually warmed to the idea. She earned a masters in divinity from Andover Newton Theological School, followed by a doctorate from Hartford Seminary.

Rise and shine it's time for church. — Mark Lovewell

She said her calling to be a minister never involved a dramatic awakening, although the profession has opened her life in ways she might not have anticipated.

“When I grow the most in my faith is when I’m faced with something that makes me uncomfortable,” she said. “Like if I have to sit at the bedside of somebody who is dying, it really is not the most comfortable thing to do, but I find that’s where my faith kicks in.... When you get out of your comfort zone and you get into areas where you have no idea what you are doing and you have no skills in dealing with this situation, that’s when God kicks in.”

She said one thing that drew her to the Chilmark Community Church in particular was its sense of mission in helping the wider community, through initiatives related to hunger, housing and other needs on the Island. She feels the real work of a congregation happens outside the church.

“We have enough to keep ourselves busy, but you’ve got to get outside the four walls of the church,” she said.

She hopes to facilitate mission work abroad in the future as a way to benefit more communities and give parishioners a chance to stretch their own boundaries.

Among other initiatives, the Chilmark Community Church collaborates with other Island churches in providing meals once a week during the off-season. “You serve a wider congregation besides this,” Mrs. Wright said, adding that collaboration among various congregations had been another selling point for the Island.

Within the Chilmark Community Church, she said the congregation benefits from a diversity of needs and experiences that people can learn from. It’s those everyday encounters that she said inspire her work.

“Even just people that are trying to take care of their families or trying to take care of their parents who are aging,” she said. “It’s everyday stuff. I don’t think it’s any more than that.”