Comments from Session Members about Why they Support the Model
The co-pastor model provides an innovative opportunity to further our church’s vision and growth by expanding Tami’s ministry in a way that affirms our commitment to principles of equality. It is biblically rooted, yet progressive, and I hope that implementation of the model will support our outreach to young adults and families, with whom the spirit of equality and collaboration may particularly resonate.
~ Jessica Mayes
I support the co-pastor model because I am excited about the path our church is following. The last four years have revived a sense of excitement, renewal and growth. There is joy in worship, and vision in all the Commissions. We have too much we want to do, and need additional pastoral support. We have gotten to know and love Tami, and appreciate and benefit from the talents she has already brought us. She is a gift in our midst. I believe we are called to be the hands of God in our community, and that Tami and the co-pastor model will support our vision for the future.
~ Christie Herman
The Co-pastor proposal is one that may only come around once in the lifetime of our Church. In Tami & Chip, we have two ministers of the very highest qualifications, who are known to us and are loved. We called Tami last year as Parish Associate in recognition of the need for additional pastoral leadership in our Church. We now have the opportunity for which Tami and Chip have volunteered to expand upon that initial increment of additional pastoral leadership by calling Tami to be a co-equal partner with Chip in leading the Church. Tami has accomplished a great deal during this year and last in adult and Youth Education, providing leadership to the Education Commission and sharing the pulpit with Chip. Her presence is felt throughout the Church. Adopting the Co-pastor model affords us a tremendous opportunity to grow as a Church and to individually grow in our faith.
~ Dick Seymour
To me, the co-pastor model is not so much about growth as it is about sustainability and fairness – sustainability of Chip and fairness to Tami (plus more access to Tami’s excellent skill set that we are currently underutilizing). And, if with that we get some extra vision/ventures, then that is a bonus.
~ Dave Monk
We have a wonderful opportunity to model leadership in a different way, a true partnership model, with two equal pastors. And what a terrific opportunity for all of us, and especially our youth, to see a man and a woman in leadership roles. Each of us on Session has prayerfully discerned what will help our faith community be all that God is calling us to be. I believe that moving to this new model of leadership will move us forward in fulfilling our vision.
~ Connie Knapp
We are being offered a unique chance to gain the skills of an outstanding pastor, who is at a position in her life to expand her pastoral responsibilities, just at a point where our church is able to take advantage of her talents. Just as Chip has pushed us in new directions, the addition of Tami as an equal partner will add vision and momentum to our growth.
~ Donna Gresh
Wow, a chance to lock in a great resource like Tami to compliment along with Chip, is truly a blessed opportunity! I have grown my faith and look forward to learn more with Tami and Chip’s unique styles. May their calling be a faith growing model for us all!
~ Tim Chin
The two most important reasons why I support the copastor model wholeheartedly are my daughters, Ellen and Margaret. Last year, I watched them grow in their faith by leaps and bounds as they participated in the activities of our newly reconstituted youth group, and, for Ellen, our confirmation classes. And yet, I want even more for them – and for all of our youth – as they continue on their faith journey. I want them to have a future full of opportunities to witness and carry out God’s work in the world and to inspire others with their own expressions of their faith. In the co-pastor model, with all the wisdom, talent, energy, and, above all, long-term vision for our church that Chip and Tami bring, I see that future for our children.
~ Beth Gruber
We have grown and flourished in the time that Chip has been with us and we have been the fortunate recipient of the gifts that Tami brings, primarily through her own initiatives. We have an amazing opportunity to glean more of those gifts in the co-pastor model. Tami would be able to add to the pastoral care which she cannot do now in her current part time position. She would be able to continue enhancing the adult education portion of our church and would partner with Chip on new initiatives which have yet to be conceived. They are already an extraordinary team. As co-pastors they would be even better.
~ Marsha Henderson
Having first heard of the co-pastor model at the January 2014 Session retreat, I didn’t know what to think of the idea. However, since that time I have had the opportunity to read some available research and participate in MANY conversations about the model. The Session has heard from several people who have been part of the model in other churches. Because of the things we heard and read, I am very excited about the model. I love the idea that we get two different, energetic, vibrant people to serve as our pastors. They each have the skills, knowledge, temperament, experience, etc… to be the senior pastor of our church. Maybe more importantly, they both have earned our respect and the respect of the congregation to serve in that role very effectively. I like the idea of adding capabilities and a heightened amount of focus to the many good things our church is trying to accomplish without any of the risk of hiring an unknown (new) pastor to help our congregation grow in different ways. I think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to do something that can have a profound impact on the way we live into Jesus’ church and vision for us. To borrow a quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Eugene McGrath
Over the past few years, I have heard Susan Andrews speak at several events. Each time she has addressed the Session and/or Congregation, she has never failed to congratulate us on being one of the healthiest Churches in the Presbytery. This is not gratuitous praise, but rather recognition of the fact that we put no limits on ourselves and the visions of what we might accomplish. As we strive to do more as Gods’ people, we must recognize the simultaneous need for additional spiritual leadership. We are fortunate to have what we need in place in Chip and Tami, two unique and equally suited individuals well equipped with the tools needed to guide us on our journey.
~ Ian Spence
Look how far we’ve come!
In thinking about the new model for pastoral leadership, the Session took some time to reflect on how different things are at FPCY since Chip joined as our pastor five years ago, and Tami joined us as a parish associate almost two years ago. We are not the same place we were before! Here are just a few ways in which we’ve noticed how our faith community has grown and changed:
- We received a “Challenge to Change” grant to update our website. We now have a professionally developed and maintained web presence, with many visitors to our site each week.
- We received a “Challenge to Change” grant to update our sanctuary with appropriate technology. This allows us to participate in Presbytery wide events, as well as to enhance our worship experience.
- Membership in 2010 was 348 and pledged giving $376,217. In 2013, membership was 375 and pledge giving was $423,765.
- Our adult faith formation opportunities have grown. We have a very active Women’s Circle Bible study. We have been able to have two adult forum groups: one on Sunday between services, and one on Wednesday evenings. We have a Thursday morning group. We have engaged the entire congregation in Lenten studies for the past two years (remember those Glittering Vices last spring?).
- We have developed and strengthened ways to engage our youth, from confirmation class to our unfolding youth ministry.
- We have researched, selected and implemented a new curriculum across the entire Sunday school that more fully meets the needs of all our children. Specifically, there is a separate, targeted curriculum for 5th & 6th grade, and for 7th & above, which has resulted in some of our 9th graders continuing with Sunday school for the first time in recent memory.
- We are identifying ways to connect and share our faith in our everyday lives, such as the Blessing of the Animals and the Blessing of the Backpacks.
We’re sure you can think of others! In what ways have you noticed that our church community has grown and changed?
~ Debbie Bernardini and Connie Knapp