Your church board is so thankful the Search Committee assembled a powerful profile of our church, which inspired many talented pastors from across the country to apply for our Associate Pastor position. Then the Search Committee did the discerning work of evaluating the applicants and selecting Rev. Jessica Shine to be offered as our Associate Pastor. Jessica was presented to the church board who unanimously approved Rev. Shine as our candidate to the congregation.

And then…a wonderful affirmation at the Congregational Meeting occurred, with voting on-line, in-person and in an overflow room. It’s been said, “you can’t please everybody,” but Jessica did! The congregation cast 148 unanimous YES votes to call Rev. Jessica Shine to our Associate Pastor position. And to top it off – she accepted!

Watching Rev. Shine and her wife, Deshna Shine, walk down the aisle of ceremonial flags to the applause of the congregation was a brief but spectacular moment of the wind of the Holy Spirit moving them forward. Welcome, Jessica and family!

In the November board meeting, Averyn Payne met with the board (by Zoom) and asked the church to formally endorse their journey of becoming a Member in Discernment within the United Church of Christ. The board agreed to endorse Averyn on their way to becoming a minister. We have been blessed by Averyn’s membership and internship with us this past summer. We now have FOUR church members enrolled in seminary and in the process of becoming ministers: Averyn Payne, Mark Lindberg, Beth Pfeiffer and Emily Farthing. It is unusual and very special to have four members from one church seeking to be ministers! In 2021 we were able to provide each of them with some financial aid.

Val Close, chair of the Social Justice and Witness Committee, informed the board of the committee’s desire to explore United Church of Christ designations that indicate if a UCC church is responding to social issues such as climate change, racial injustice, homelessness and/or other social issues. The designations through the UCC are granted after education, dialogue and exploring the actions and activities of a church are confirmed as reflecting the values of the designation(s). The board fully endorsed this exploration.

The board has established a budget committee, led by David Frank, to create a church budget for 2022. The committee will be reviewing past expenditures and creating a budget that will be presented to the board and then voted upon at the next congregational meeting, held in early 2022. Forecasting income during the continuation of the pandemic will be a difficult job. Please pray for God’s guidance and for generosity by the church congregation as we move forward into the new year.

FCC church board members are: Steve Carmichael, Moderator; Elly Vandegrift, Vice Moderator; Brent Arnold; Shari Hetzke; Todd Chapman; Tim Bloch; Dan Close; David Frank; Polly Shannon. Any of the board members may be reached by calling the church office.