Clarksville, TN – The road from Louisiana to Tennessee may be long, but the road between retired pastor and executive director of Loaves and Fishes is not. That’s what the Rev. Ricky Willis, former pastor of Zachary United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently said.
“One of the most rewarding aspects for me as a pastor was when I was involved in leading others in outreach ministries and missions,” Willis said. “So, when I came across this opportunity at Loaves and Fishes, it was truly an answer to my prayer and seemed like a perfect fit.”
Willis, who spent 38 years in the ministry with the United Methodist Church, and his wife, Marie, are excited about the move to Clarksville — the couple frequently visited Tennessee on family vacations.
“As we are learning, Clarksville is a community that already has so much to offer, and it is filled with tremendous potential for ministry and growth,” he said. “Every day, I learn about some new aspect that I want to explore and learn more about. I look forward to becoming fully immersed in the quality of life offered here.”
Willis said the long journey was worth every mile to land in a community like Clarksville.
“One of the things that has impressed me the most about Clarksville is the willingness and commitment of the people who serve at Loaves and Fishes,” he said. “You don’t often see the level of community support that is shown here in most communities. It says a lot about the heart and the quality of the people here.”
One thing that did pack easily was his gumbo recipe, and Willis is excited to help with the annual Louisiana Saturday NIghts fundraiser.
“If you’re from Louisiana and you can’t cook a good gumbo, as they say, ‘Something ain’t right about that!’” he said. “I do love to cook, and I’ve been told my gumbo passes the test of Cajun standards, although it might be a little spicy for some folks up here!”