From news anchor to pastor: The spiritual evolution of Myra Monroe-Carr

Myra Monroe-Carr with meteorologist Mike Potter in her days as a morning anchor on WCJB TV 20.
Myra Monroe-Carr with meteorologist Mike Potter in her days as a morning anchor on WCJB TV 20.

Myra Monroe delivered the news to thousands of Gainesville area residents for nearly 20 years on television. Now, Myra Monroe-Carr delivers the Good News as a United Methodist pastor.

She started in radio, then launched her television career on WCJB TV 20. There was a side trip to Tallahassee, then she was back to Gainesville, including a return to TV 20 and then launching GTN News on Channel 4. 

The difference between television news and the ministry may seem distant, but not for Monroe-Carr. 

“At both places, we fed the hungry,” she says.

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It goes further.

“We truly were searching for the truth,” she says of her time as a reporter and anchor. All of the people with whom she worked truly believed that, she said.

A Bible verse was a key to her transition from a purveyor of the news, to a purveyor of The Good News. 

“I am the Lord’s servant, may it be as you have said.”

That’s Luke 1:38. It is, of course, the response of Mary to the visit of the angel, the angel that tells her she is to give birth to Jesus.

In Monroe-Carr’s instance, it was the phone call she received one New Year’s Eve, which resulted from an amniocentesis that indicated her second child, Marianna, would be born with Down’s Syndrome.

“May it be as you have said,” she thought.

Quotable

“I’ve always had faith,” she says. “I didn’t see this as a call to ministry but as a call to service.”

–Pastor Myra Monroe-Carr

She met her husband, Rob Carr, in the radio business and then he also worked at TV 20. They started a family with the birth of their older child, Monroe, while in Tallahassee.

Monroe-Carr admits raising a child with special needs has been more challenging than she thought, but it has also been more rewarding, and has contributed to her life as a mother, and a minister.

“I’ve always had faith,” she says. “I didn’t see this as a call to ministry but as a call to service.”

“It was motherhood that drew me home,” she elaborates, recounting the times she was a stay-at-home mom, in between different news jobs, or scheduling around them. 

That leads her to a different perspective about balance in life. She has frequently been asked how to balance work and home, especially from students as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida. Even though there were times she was busy at a TV station, there were seasons she was home most of the time or even full time. 

“My kids feel like I was home all the time,” she says. She sees God’s hand in that. “I couldn’t plan that,” she says.

That doesn’t mean, in the times she was home full time, she always felt fulfilled. 

“There were seasons when I did feel set aside,” she says. “Those times were just as valuable.”

It also led her to another reality. “Don’t dismiss small beginnings. Folding the laundry is important,” she says.

That led her to another conclusion. “Do not diminish the role you’re in. You can be a minister.”

Monroe-Carr felt the call to a formal ministry, over time. 

Her study of the Bible after the birth of her daughter “put my faith on fire,” she says.

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At first, it was the Friendship Disability Ministry, as an advocate for families with Special Needs. She started to get the call. 

“I started preaching because I had something to say,” she says.

“I had never seen pastoral ministry in my future,” she says, but God was leading her.  She had close friends who asked her to marry them, and to baptize them.

Then she was asked to preach three Sundays, over Easter no less, at a United Methodist Church in Micanopy. 

The District Superintendent then asked Monroe-Carr to become the pastor at Southwest United Methodist Church in Gainesville. She began seminary training, and was pastor at Southwest for three years.

Now, she is pastor for Melrose United Methodist Church, close to her home on Lake Santa Fe, a congregation small in numbers but large in faith.

She admits there are time she misses the ability to reach people the way she could on TV. “It’s amazing how much impact we could have,” she says.

“We were not doing it in the name of Jesus,” she qualifies, but then explains further.

“We were doing it in the name of Jesus, we just couldn’t say that.”

“The two careers are startlingly similar to me,” she says of the sharing the news and the Good News.

“I see it all the time in other people,” she says: people who have a skill in a job or career, and who can reach others for Christ using the same skills. She references the Gospel stories of Matthew, the tax collector who turned his talent with a pen into scripture, and Peter, the fisherman who became a fisher of men.

As one who has touched hearts and minds in multiple ways, Pastor Myra Monroe-Carr sees it all bound together.

“I think God weaves together in beautiful ways,” she says.

If you would like to see Pastor Myra’s more recent work, visit www.anchoredtochrist.org.

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