January 4, 2019
Things at First Presbyterian Church will be different in 2019. Two associate pastors answered God’s call to set out in different directions in the last half of 2018, creating both challenges to keeping things rolling and opportunities to reshape our staff in response to God’s changing call to us as a congregation.
Here are a few questions you may have about staffing changes here at First Presbyterian. And we invite you to send us your questions so we can expand this information as the changes unfold.
Q. How many pastors are we going to have?
A. Three pastors—the Senior Pastor, the Senior Associate Pastor for Congregational Ministry and Care, and an Associate Pastor for Christian Formation and Young Adults.
Q. Why won’t we have an associate pastor for mission?
A. Session determined that FPC can elevate its historic commitment to this ministry by hiring a full-time Director whose sole focus is mission and outreach. Pastors have many other functions to fill—pastoral care and participation in worship, for example—that can pull them away from the work of mission. This director will report to Pen and will be part of the church’s Senior Leadership Team.
Q. When will the new Director of Mission be hired?
A. Since this is not an ordained position, the hiring process could move more quickly than calling a new pastor. We hope this role can be filled in the first six months of the 2019.
Q. What roles does a part-time parish associate fill?
A. Parish Associates are typically part-time ordained pastors who fill specific roles as well as provide backup for full-time pastors with pastoral care and worship. The model here calls for three part-time parish associates—one for Formation, one for Fellowship and Connection, and one for Senior Adults. Our parish associates will provide oversight and leadership in ways that complement the work of our installed pastors.
Q. Will Chuck Williamson still work with senior adult members?
A. Yes, that is certainly our hope and intention. The Reverend Chuck Williamson currently fills a broad spectrum of needs for our older members, who require different levels of care.
Q. Will Mary Margaret Porter continue to be one of our parish associates?
A. We are delighted to have the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter as our Parish Associate for Fellowship and Connection, with the goal of expanding the ways we share our lives and our faith journeys.
Q. Will Becky Davis become our Associate Pastor for Formation and Young Adults?
A. The Reverend Rebecca Davis will serve as an interim parish associate in the area of Formation. In that role, she will teach on Sunday mornings and provide other forms of theological enrichment to the congregation. The new Associate Pastor for Formation and Young Adults will hire the permanent parish associate.
Q. When will we have a new Associate Pastor?
A. An Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC), to be chaired by Libby Bell, was elected in late 2018 and will begin the search for our new pastor immediately. The hope is that someone will be with us by the time we start a new program year in September, 2019. The APNC will update the congregation about progress.
Have more questions? Send them to Tanya Gaspar, Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor.