Staff-Parish Relations Committee
We welcome Megan Jones as our new Director of Children, Family & Youth Ministries. She will officially begin her ministry here in January.
Originally from Waynesville, North Carolina, Megan has recently relocated to the Portland/ Vancouver Metro area. Megan holds a BS in Social Work from Western Carolina University, a Master of Social Work from Baylor University, and will be completing her Master of Divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary in May 2013.
Before coming to First Church, Megan collectively has eight years of experience serving in churches in North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee in the areas of children, youth, and college ministry.
She has a heart for the local community, missions, and the importance of empowering families to maintain strong family bonds. She enjoys spending time outside and hiking, a warm cup of coffee, and exploring Portland.
Megan is excited to join the First UMC team. She is most excited about being a part of such a thriving children’s ministry.
She looks forward to being an encourager and resource to all those involved, and developing strong bonds within the youth department while supporting their involvement in the local community and beyond.
After almost 5 years of joy-filled service to the children, youth and families of First Church, Megan Tekchandani will be leaving us on November 30th. The Children and Families Ministries Committee is inviting the congregation to share in saying good-bye to Megan at a reception after worship on Sunday, November 25th.
Please come and share cake and beverages. If you wish, bring a card for Megan and put in a favorite memorable experience you have shared with her and thanking her for her service. Megan has asked to be remembered in word, rather than with gifts.
Megan and Nitin hope to continue to worship with us here at FUMC, as Megan pursues her future plans in Cosmetology School at the Aveda Institute in Portland.
We hope for an announcement naming the new Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries in mid-November.
On Sunday, September 16th , Janice Gratton, the chair of our Staff Parish Relations Committee made this announcement:
This morning I am here to inform you of a staff change that we receive with mixed emotions.
We have had the pleasure of receiving wonderful and loving service from Megan Tekchandani, our Director of Child/Youth/and Family Ministries. She has been with us since 2008 and has earned the affection of many of our families for her dedicated and loving shepherding of our little ones and our young adults. She has informed us that she would like to resign from her position on November 30th. She is giving us time for a recruitment and orientation process for her replacement and we are very appreciative.
In her letter to the SPRC, Megan said:
“Watching children grow in their understanding of God and the Christ inside them is a blessing. Anybody who is a witness to this would agree that it is unlike any other opportunity in life. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity here with families and children at First UMC.
Please know that this transition in my life is brought upon by age, desire to try a new skill, and a long term plan for my family. Know that this community is thriving and embarking on new and beautiful territory and I’ll always count the community here among my dear friends.”
Again, we are grateful that we have had the blessing of Megan’s service here at FUMC and we will be moving quickly to fill her position. Copies of the job description and requirements are being placed throughout Oregon and SW Washington, with the recruitment closing on October 10th. (click here for the job announcement/description)
We look forward to seeing Megan and Nithan in the congregation as fellow worshipers in the years to come.”
There will be opportunity to let Megan know of your good wishes for her announced at a later date.
On Sunday, May 28th, Janice Gratton, chair of our SPRC, read the following letter from our Assistant to the Bishop, Dr Lowell Greathouse:
Dear Members and Friends of Portland First United Methodist Church:
Greetings! This morning it is my privilege to share the news that it is the intention of Bishop Robert Hoshibata of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference to appoint the Rev. Richard (Dick) Storment as Minister of Pastoral Care to your church effective July 15th, 2012. Rev. Storment is a retired Elder and Member of the Yellowstone Annual Conference.
Dick brings a great deal of experience with him to this position. He has held a variety of roles within the Yellowstone Annual Conference before retiring in 2010, having served as a District Superintendent, chaired the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Pensions and served as Dean of the Pastor’s Professional School for seven years. In addition, he has served as a pastor at Lewistown, Grass Range, Winnett, Winifred, Laurel, and Worland United Methodist Churches. Dick has also received Clinical Pastoral Education training and has a deep commitment to the ministry of the United Methodist Church. He and his wife Sandy, who is an ordained Deacon and Associate Member of the Yellowstone Annual Conference, will be living in the Scappoose area to be near their daughter who lives in the area.
Once again, Donna, Janice Gratton, and the entire Staff Parish Relations Committee at First Church, are to be commended for the excellent work that they have provided your congregation during this time of transition. They have served your congregation well, and I look forward to working with everyone at First Church as you move forward in ministry. The Bishop, cabinet, and I will continue to hold you all in our thoughts and prayers.
Rev. Lowell Greathouse
Assistant to the Bishop, Metro District
Building Bridges Together
This letter comes to us after the SPRC and Rev Donna interviewed the Reverend Stormant and then consulted with the Bishop and the Cabinet, affirming this appointment.
As was stated during worship on May 21st, we will be celebrating Rev Tom Foster’s ministry of pastoral care with us on Sunday, June 24th after worship with strawberries and ice cream. Please bring any gifts for a money tree and cards of thanksgiving to the church office prior to June 24th. On July 15th we will greet Rev Dick Stormant as our new Minister of Pastoral Care.
In the last ten years, Erick Lichte has carved out a distinct niche in the vocal music world and concert life in North America. The Washington Post has hailed the “audacity” of his programming, the Chicago Tribune has noted the “meticulous preparation” of his choirs and Fanfare Magazine declared that he created and helmed “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States.”
As a founding member, singer and Artistic Director of the male vocal ensemble Cantus, Lichte created and sustained one of only two full-time vocal ensembles in the United States. From 2000-2009, Lichte’s programming and artistic direction were heard in over 60 concerts a year in such venues as Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Merkin Hall, San Francisco Performances, Oregon Bach Festival, UCLA and Elora Festival. He has collaborated with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, the Boston Pops, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Minnesota Orchestra, James Sewell Ballet and poet Robert Bly.
His work with Cantus garnered the 2009 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the highest honor for the professional choral organization Chorus America. He has also been awarded major grants from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lichte is also a champion of new music and has been a part of the creation of over 50 new works. Composers Lichte has worked with include Lee Hoiby, Gavin Bryars, Steven Sametz, Edie Hill, Mary Ellen Childs and Peteris Vasks. Lichte himself is an active arranger and composer whose music has been heard across the United States. He is especially known as a co-creator and musical arranger of the theatrical work All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which has been broadcast nationally and has been presented in three national tours.
As a choral conductor, Lichte has served as guest chorus master for the professional chorus of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque as well as the Great River Chorale, and One Voice Mixed Chorus. Lichte has also served on the faculty of Augsburg College and the University of Saint Catherine. He currently conducts the Portland State University Man Choir and University Choir, the Chancel Choir at Portland’s First United Methodist Church and is Associate Conductor of the Oregon Repertory Singers.
Lichte is a graduate of St. Olaf College where he studied with the renowned choral conductor Dr. Anton Armstrong and is currently studying with Dr. Ethan Sperry at Portland State University.
Lichte is an ardent audiophile and is a Contributing Editor for Stereophile Magazine where he writes equipment reviews of high performance audio equipment.
- Rev. Jeremy Smith
Dear Members and Friends of Portland First United Methodist Church:
Greetings! This morning it is my privilege to share the news that it is the intention of Bishop Robert Hoshibata of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference to appoint the Rev. Jeremy Smith as Minister of Discipleship to your church effective July 1, 2012. Rev. Smith is currently serving as Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Checotah, Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Annual Conference, where he has been in full connection as an Elder since 2010.
Jeremy has had a wide range of experiences in ministry. In addition to serving at First United Methodist Church in Checotah, where he has designed and led numerous programs for children, youth, and families, preached and taught Bible studies, presided over a growing program, and been a part of that church’s major capital campaign in 2011, Jeremy has also served as: pastor at First United Methodist Church in Winthrop, Massachusetts, been an intern chaplain at New England Baptist Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts, and served on a variety of annual conference boards and work teams in Oklahoma. Jeremy graduated from Boston University School of Theology, is a part of the Reconciling United Methodist clergy network, and has expertise in social media theory and practice.
Jeremy and his wife, Chelsea, recently visited Portland and met with Rev. Pritchard, the First Church Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Bishop and Cabinet, and they are excited to come to the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and First Church in July. I know that you will enjoy your ministry together in the coming years.
I also want to take this opportunity to extend my thanks, as well as that of the bishop and cabinet, to Donna, Janice Gratton, and the entire Staff Parish Relations Committee at First Church, for all the time and energy that has gone into this appointment process. They have served your congregation well, and I look forward to working with everyone at First Church as you move forward with your exciting plans for ministry in the future.
The Bishop, cabinet, and I will continue to hold you all in our thoughts and prayers in the coming months.
Rev. Lowell Greathouse
Assistant to the Bishop, Metro District
Christine Meyer has been at First UMC for almost six years. As the Church Administrator she is responsible for the day to day operations of the church facilities and oversees approximately seven employees, including the church custodial staff, facilities manager, administrative assistant and the church bookkeeper.
The Trustees appreciate her skills at managing our “bricks and mortar.” Over fifty community groups reap the benefit of our outreach into local ministries by using our facilities. We have a community group using our building every day of the week, including our Goose Hollow Shelter for families, Youngset Preschool, the bridge club, language schools, twelve step programs, and many more.
Christine has been working for the non-profit community for over 20 years and last served the Oregon Historical Society prior to coming to work for First UMC. She is a member of the local chapter of the National Association of Church Business Administrators and has helped us to keep current with our employee practices.
Her favorite part of her job is the people of the church that she works for. If she could change anything it would be to solidify First UMC’s funding so as to ensure that our many missions have a solid foundation.
Christine hails from the other Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is thrilled to be a part of First Church. She is engaged to be married in May. If you do not know Christine, stop by the office during the week to say “Hi” and offer her your congratulations on the upcoming nuptials.
Kelly Qualls has been our Executive Director of Music for the past eight years. She was born in Kansas, but has called the Portland area her home since 1982 which is when she joined First UMC and began singing in the Chancel Choir. Kelly taught elementary, middle school and high school general music, choral music, band, remedial reading and math for 28 years in various schools in both Washington and Oregon.
Kelly is very proud of the music program at First Church and strives to keep it one of excellence in all areas. She supervises the musicians that comprise our music staff. The musicians range in age from three-year-olds (Cherub Choir) up through octagenerians in the Chancel Choir. She schedules when each of the music groups and soloists sing or play in the worship services.
Additionally, Kelly takes care of the music budgets (music purchases for each of the choirs, payroll, having pianos tuned and organs repaired), sits on a committee to interview and audition candidates for music staff positions, administers the Nordwall Education Program, and contracts with musicians to play at special times such as Easter or weddings or memorial sevices. She coordinates with the Senior Pastor and other program and administrative staff regularly.
Kelly is married to David Qualls, a retired optometrist. They make their home in Gresham.
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.
Janice Gratton, chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, spoke during worship today to affirm the changes to our ministerial staff. Here is the message from the SRPC: All of you who are members and active constituents of First Church should have received a letter from the Reverend Peggy Luckman this week. As you know, Peggy has been on leave of absence since the end of October, tending to some medical difficulties. On Monday of this week, Reverend Donna and I met with Peggy and our Assistant to the Bishop, Lowell Greathouse, to find out how her medical care was progressing and to determine if she would be able to return to her pastoral duties here at First United Methodist Church.
As indicated in her letter, Peggy’s physicians have told her that she will not be able to return to her ministry for some time. Consequently, she (with support from the Bishop and the Cabinet) will apply for an “incapacity leave” which is Methodist terminology for what we laity would call “disability leave”. Her paid leave will continue through the end of November as previously scheduled. Our prayers are with Peggy as she works on returning to good health. She wishes that each of you know that she is healing and expects to be fully recovered, but that may take some time.
On that note, the SPRC is asking that you consider sending Peggy a note expressing your appreciation for her ministry and your hope for her recovery. We have a table located in the Narthex and another one in Collins Hall–there are mailing labels available. If you wish you may take a card home to complete and mail it from there, or you may complete it here, seal it and place it in the baskets provided and the Church Office will mail it. After this morning you will find the basket in the FUMC Office for the weeks preceding Christmas. Peggy continues to express her gratitude for the privilege of serving God through you at FUMC.
Our next steps will be to review the gifts and mission of our congregation and our staff, and determine in concert with the Assistant to the Bishop how to fill our needs. From January through June of 2012, we will be asking for assistance from some retired clergy as well as securing guest preachers from time to time so that Rev Donna will not find her job impossible. We will be examining the possibilities of both lay and clergy leadership in various assignments and restructuring as needed. We are blessed at First Church with a strong lay leadership and an excellent staff. While we must be careful with our talents and not exhaust them, we expect to enter our next year strong and fully functional. Please feel free to let members of the SPRC or your lay leader team know of any suggestions you may have. You may find out contact information on the members of SPRC or the Lay Leader Team by contacting the Church Office.
Blessings to each of you–please keep Peggy in your prayers and let her know of your caring.