This past week we announced several staffing changes. Here’s a recap because I want everyone to feel informed, included, and “in the know.” For more information, attend our Second Family Leaders Event on October 3, from 7 to 8pm.
Pastor Jeff Gibelius
Currently, we have two vacant staff positions, and as of December 31, there will be a third, when Pastor Jennifer retires.
Director of Contemporary Music
Our Ignite worship service is on hiatus while we work to fill this vacancy with strong, consistent, talented leadership. Ignite attenders deserve the same level of excellence from their worship leaders that our Sanctuary worshippers enjoy. We may well have “outgrown” using part-time students in the position, and in the meantime, we are seeking musicians to supplement our Sanctuary worship services.
Director of Youth Ministries
Turnover in this position has led us to reconsider how we staff our youth ministries; there is a shortage of willing and qualified applicants for a Presbyterian Church (USA) setting like ours, and we may need a different approach to ensure well-trained, consistent, long-term leadership.
In the short term, we are experimenting with a different staffing approach. Vicki Lantz, Pastor Jennifer, and I are devoting a combined total of 20 hours per week to youth ministries. We have also hired two outstanding women to work six hours per week, covering the needs we will not be meeting ourselves. And finally, we have several great volunteers supplementing the staff’s efforts. Born of necessity, it is a creative experiment from which we will learn and grow. (Learn more about Amy Martin and Becca Roberts below.)
Session members and representatives from the Presbytery are already talking about hiring a temporary Associate Pastor. Hopefully, we will experience a seamless transition, if we hire someone this fall, but hiring a new, permanent Associate Pastor, will take much longer. When she was hired, we needed Pastor Jennifer’s particular set of skills and gifts. Thirteen years later, we need to reassess our priorities. They have likely changed, and we must prayerfully reflect on the skills and gifts we need in an Associate Pastor both today and for the future.
Seminarian, Gracie Payne
Finally, Gracie Hellweg, married Christian Payne, this summer, and he was promptly offered a dream job in Carlisle. It was an offer they couldn’t refuse. Transferring from Louisville Seminary to Princeton Seminary, this January, Gracie Payne is able to work 20 hours a week for us, rounding out the staff in several areas that need attention.
In the midst of all this change, I have to proclaim that God is good! We may be losing a dear staff member, but we’ve already been sent three staff members to address other needs.
Thanks to these staff vacancies, we are able to afford temporary staffers without exceeding the budget. And because current staffers are temporarily expanding their responsibilities, the impact on ministries should be minimized.
There will, of course, be an impact. Some ministry “balls” will be dropped and that will hurt. Other balls will drop without anyone batting an eye. And some balls will get hit out of the park by our new approaches. I’m asking you to lend your support to holding things together during this year of transition. Extend grace.
A Staffing Vision Task Force of current and former Elders will work to devise a new staffing arrangement that will enable us to grow our ministry within our resources. Its members are as follows:
Win Cleland, George Vaites, Barbara Berry, Amy Kappeler, Reed Price, Al Masland, Cindy Varner, and Charlie Spears.
Change is inevitable. We have been spoiled by remarkable staff stability: Deb, Vicki, Jennifer, and I have each served Second for more than 10 years. That’s a long time for a team to be together.
Change is hard. It means saying goodbye. It means finding, training, and getting to know new people.
Change is opportunity. Staff turnover allows us to better meet our congregation’s evolving needs. Ten years ago, the congregation wanted to prioritize ministries for children, youth, and young families. We said we wanted to reach out to the community more. We said we wanted to enlist more people in ministry and mission. But we didn’t change our approach to staffing those areas. Now we can.
If you have questions, concerns, or ideas, see me, Win Cleland, or any member of the Staffing Vision Task Force.
Please pray for our new staffers, Pastor Jennifer, and all of our church leaders.
Pastor Jennifer McKenna Announces Retirement
On September 11, Pastor Jennifer announced to the Session her intention to retire at the end of the year (December 31). In a heartfelt letter to the congregation, she described her joy in serving here for 13 years and her desire to spend more time with her new grandson and more time pursuing interests beyond parish ministry. In his letter accompanying Jennifer’s announcement Pastor Jeff expressed his appreciation for their partnership over the past ten years and listed many of Jennifer’s strengths and achievements. A celebratory event and meal is being planned for Jennifer. Stay tuned for information on how you can participate. In the meantime, please be sure to express to Jennifer what her ministry has meant to you.
Recent Additions to our Staff
Part-Time Youth Ministry Staff
Amy is working six hours a week with our Middle School youth (including Sunday morning small group and Wednesday night fellowship events).
Excited to grow with our middle school youth, Amy has been a member of Second Presbyterian for over a year. She and her husband Brian officially joined by letter of transfer, after frequently attending as guests. They each believe God has always had a hand in their relationship, and they are the proud parents of two sons and proud grandparents of a five-year-old girl.
Amy has worked with children her entire life. She was the president of her youth group, taught Sunday school, worked for Northwestern Human Services as a Therapeutic Staff Support, and taught reading and English Second Language for 15 years at Yellow Breeches Middle School. Two years ago, Amy felt lead to make a change and moved to Cumberland Valley School District, where she is currently employed as an Instructional Specialist at Sporting Hill Elementary. While she enjoys the challenge of supporting and enriching children in grades K-5, she very much misses middle school students, and she is, therefore, thrilled to be entrusted with Second’s youth.
Part-Time Youth Ministry Staff
Becca is working six hours a week with our High School youth (including Sunday morning small group and Wednesday night fellowship events).
Becca is excited to work with the high school youth. Since she was nine, she has been a part of Second Presbyterian Church, where she benefited from the youth programs we offer. The multiple periods of transition in youth leadership during her time in the program have made her particularly sensitive to the needs of our youth during this new transition period.
Five years ago, when she was fresh out of college, she volunteered with the youth program for the first time. She continued to help with youth group and Sunday school for three years before leaving to spend a year in Chinook, Montana as a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV). During her time in Montana, she worked with young children and older adults in various areas of the small community she was living in. After a year of adjusting from the slower paced life of small town Montana, Becca is eager to work with our youth again.
Meet Gracie Payne
You may know her better as Gracie Hellweg, her name when she worked here for three years as our Director of Youth Ministry. Now, she is married to Christian Payne, and until she resumes her studies this January, she will work about 20 hours per week on several discipleship related projects, including young adult ministry (for people in their 20s and 30s), web redesign with evangelism in mind, connecting with students from Messiah (with hopes of developing an intern program), and designing a process for enabling members to identify and use their gifts for ministry and mission. She will also explore arrangements for getting our Ignite worship service going again. Finally, she will preach at least twice during the semester. When she resumes her studies in January, we will see what kind of time she has to invest in her ministry here. Gracie is not returning to her former position as Director of Youth Ministry nor is she assuming the responsibilities of an Associate Pastor; we are currently staffing those areas in other ways.