The Rev. Paul Wayne Towers missed the ministry so much that he came out of retirement to serve at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 806 13th St., Altoona.
St. Luke's new rector had previously served at Trinity Episcopal Church in Elmira, N.Y., and Christ Church in Binghamton, N.Y.
He said after a three-month hiatus, he missed being in a parish and decided to return to the pulpit. He said he immediately took a liking to the friendly people of St. Luke's and central Pennsylvania.
(Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec) Father Paul Towers is the new rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Altoona, where services are held at 8 and 10:15 a.m. Sundays. A Holy Eucharist service is held at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and a prayer service is held at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays. Every third Thursday, a Taize service is held
"The people make you feel like they would be willing to tell you their life secrets, he said. "They are very embracing and belonging and the humor is really great."
A baseball buff and theater-goer, Towers is pleased that Altoona has both. He became a Curve fan this summer and enjoyed going to games with parishioners.
He frequents Tom and Joe's diner and claims that the restaurant is developing an omelet to be christened the "Father Paul Steak Omelet."
The Towers file
Name: Paul Wayne Towers
Family: Marian, my wife of 33 years, and a 4-year-old tuxedo-colored cat named Patience.
Hometown: Staten Island, N.Y.
Education: Doctor of Ministry from Virginia Theological Seminary, Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Va.
Previous pulpits served: Served various churches in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York.
Years in ministry: 26
"We are working on the seasonings, perfecting it," he said with a laugh.
He said his times at the diner are just another example of the warmth and lightheartedness of the area.
Towers believes in using situational humor wherever it is appropriate, including sermons.
"I use humor in response to what's going on," he said.
The Mirror asked him the following questions about his work:
What inspired you to become a clergyman?
I received what I believed to be at the age of 12, a divine calling into Holy Orders. After a few misguided steps and the wise words of mentors, I found fulfillment in my life upon entering the ordained life and ministry in the church.
What is the most interesting aspect of your work?
The most interesting and at the same the most difficult is being present with people, healing, reconciling the fractured souls of humanity into a healthy relationship with God and his Church through the sacrificial love and grace our Lord Jesus Christ.
What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I go to Gettysburg, Pa for spiritual renewal. I have found the battle grounds to be a soulful place.
Such a large number of people died in that place. More people died in the Civil War than all the other wars Americans have fought combined. It puts my life in perspective.
What has been your biggest blessing?
Without question my wife, Marian.
What do you see as the community's most important need?
Manufacturing jobs and re-addressing the growing population of homeless persons in Altoona.
What are your interests?
I love to hike, read and travel.