After nearly six months without a pastor, the congregation of New Hope Lutheran Church, on the border of Valley Stream and Elmont, has found a leader: a former Tanzanian diplomat from Holy Trinity Lutheran in Hollis, Queens.
The Rev. Perucy Butiku, a graduate of Syracuse University who spent years working with the United Nations on human rights issues, took the pulpit at New Hope at the beginning of December, the first time the congregation has had an official pastor since June.
Butiku said she is very excited about the possibilities that come with her role in a new area. “I’ve always wanted to work with people, but working with people without first instilling yourself with faith is difficult,” she said. “Now, I work with people through peace.”
It took Butiku a few years to find her calling — she is in her early 60s but has been a pastor for just nine years — but her roots in a religious lifestyle stretch deep into her childhood. Born in the small village of Musoma on the shore of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania, Butiku had a firm connection to faith.