The Rev. Brian Bodt, one of the most influential religious figures in the greater Bridgeport region, retired on June 24. He was the CEO of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport between 2006 and 2012. He was also pastor of the Golden Hill United Methodist Church before he took over the council, and, in recent years, has been pastor of the Mary Taylor United Methodist Church in downtown Milford. About 60 congregations in Bridgeport and the surrounding towns belong to the council, most of them belong to mainline Protestant denominations, although there are a few Roman Catholic parishes, too. It\u2019s \u201ca faith-based, non-sectarian social services agency dedicated to meeting the needs of people at risk and breaking the cycle of poverty and crisis,\u201d according to its website. The council also, from time to time, serves as a moral compass. For example, while Bodt was at the helm, it sent a sharply worded note to former Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi in 2006 saying it would demand his resignation if he did not quickly spell out a \u201cclear plan to regain the public trust.\u201d This was in reference to Fabrizi\u2019s admission of cocaine and alcohol abuse. Fabrizi told the religious leaders that he had made \u201ca terrible mistake in the past and that I faced that adversity head on\u201d by asking for professional help. The former mayor was never arrested for drug use; Fabrizi was mayor from 2003 to 2007. Bodt married Carol Galloway of Woodbridge in 2012, his second wife. During his first marriage his name was Schofield-Bodt. He was born on May 1, 1954, in Havre de Grace, Md., where he spent his childhood years. He graduated from McDaniel College \u2014 then called Western Maryland College \u2014 and went on to Drew University for his theological education, graduating in 1979; he was ordained as a deacon just prior to that. \u201cI had ties to Drew, my uncle was a member of the United Methodist clergy and went there, too.\u201d Bodt\u2019s first assignment was at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Yonkers, N.Y. His next was at Glendale UMC in Queens, N.Y., where he served until 1987. \u201cGlendale was interesting \u2014 they had some upheaval before I came,\u201d he said. \u201cThe good news was that there was an interim pastor who did a lot of healing.\u201d By this time the couple\u2019s first child, Daniel, came along, in 1985. \u201cWe didn\u2019t really want to raise our child in the city, so I asked for a suburban assignment,\u201d Bodt said. \u201cSo I was sent to the Huntington United Methodist Church (in Shelton) in 1987.\u201d He said that he\u2019s served 31 of his 40 years as a pastor in Connecticut, all in the greater Bridgeport region. \u201cThat\u2019s a little unusual \u2014 usually you\u2019re sent 50 miles away or more.\u201d A second son arrived during the Huntington assignment. In 1995, Bodt became pastor of the Golden Hill United Methodist Church. \u201cI wasn\u2019t looking to move \u2014 the leadership was expecting a lot of retirements,\u201d he said. There\u2019s one facet of the Methodist faith that Bodt doesn\u2019t see eye to eye with, and that is its posture toward the LGBTQ community. Its rulebook states that gays, while they can be members, can\u2019t serve in the clergy. They also can\u2019t be married by the UMC clergy. \u201cIt\u2019s something that we\u2019ve struggled with for more than 40 years, and that struggle is still going on,\u201d Bodt said. \u201cWhile I was at Golden Hill, we became an \u2018open and affirming church,\u2019 welcoming people regardless of their sexual orientation. And I\u2019ve been part of the push-back for a very long time.\u201d By 2011, Bodt said he wanted to return to the pulpit. At the time he was told by the Rev. Jerry Streets \u2014 professor of theology at Yale University \u2014 \u201cYou are suffering from undelivered sermons.\u201d So, in July 2012, he began his last assignment, at Mary Taylor. That was also the year he was married to Galloway. As for retirement, Bodt says he\u2019ll pursue his pastime \u2014 building up his model railroad layout. \u201cI recently changed gauges,\u201d he said, \u201cfrom N scale to HO.\u201d That was a major decision for him. In the model railroad community, switching to a different scale is a little like switching from Protestant to Catholic. There will be a meet-and-greet at Mary Taylor UMC, 168-176 S Broad St, Milford, on June 24 from 2 to 4:30. That\u2019s also the date of Bodt\u2019s last sermon there. \u201cThey\u2019re calling this retirement event my \u201cTrain-sition,\u2019 \u201d he said.