Ministry here at First United Methodist Church is active and varied, and we have involved leaders at many levels to keep the church vital and growing. Staff-Parish Relations Committee is in direct conversation with other FUMC church leaders and with our Assistant to the Bishop, the Rev. Lowell Greathouse, as we look at the goals and direction of our ministry and the needs we have for staffing. The normal timing of a new pastor’s appointment is July 1 each year. To assist our Senior Pastor, the Rev. Donna Pritchard, during this in-between time, SPRC, the Lay Leaders and Rev. Donna, have arranged for some interim leadership.
FUMC Lay Leaders, Sonja Connor, Dan Woodward and Cheryl Bittle, and committee chairpersons are being asked to take the lead in some of our program areas – most notably with visitor and new member efforts, some volunteer recruitment for Sunday morning worship, and in some of our short-term classes and Sunday forums. Mark Ohlson, our Outreach Coordinator, will be adding 5 hours of paid work each week (for a total of 20 hours weekly), and will provide staff support for Church & Society, Planet Church, Missions Committee and the Library Committee. He will also be the contact person for community members who come to the church seeking emergency assistance which is not pastoral in nature. Chris Meyer, Church Administrator, will become the staff support for the Travel Committee. Megan Humphreys-Loving, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries, will work more closely with Rev. Donna in planning Lenten programs for the church, including identifying themes for worship and learning for all ages.
The Rev. Dr. Tom Rannells, a retired United Methodist elder associated with First Church, will be working 5 hours per week as the “interim Adult Ministries Director”. In this role Tom will help the Adult Ministries Committee develop short-term studies, speaker bureaus, and small group ministries. Tom will also collaborate with other program areas in this work. This position will be in place January through April. If you don’t know Tom Rannells. he served churches in Wisconsin and in California before coming to Oregon-Idaho as the Conference Council Director and his picture is in the Church Directory.
Occasional guest preachers will fill our pulpit throughout the winter and spring when Rev. Donna is away doing continuing education or fulfilling responsibilities to the larger church, or taking a little time to rest and be renewed.
The Rev. Tom Foster continues to provide ministries of pastoral care for members of First Church, and the rest of our staff continues to serve us very well. The SPRC is managing the funding of the additional staff through the funds created with the vacancy in the associate pastor role. Please let us know of any unmet needs and, of course, please tell us when you see our staff performing “above and beyond.” Let us continue to be the church that is “Believing-Thinking-Acting” to make God’s love visible in this world.