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Update on Pastor Jones’ Visit

Dear Messiah Family –

On behalf of the call committee, I am beyond thrilled to share with you that we have selected a candidate to present to the congregation for Pastor of Faith Formation. Pastor Bridget Jones spent this past weekend in Auburn meeting with various groups from the congregation. The call committee met yesterday afternoon and voted unanimously to ask the church council to call a special congregational meeting for Sunday, December 12 immediately following worship. At a subsequent special meeting of the church council, after meeting with Pastor Jones, the church council also unanimously voted to call the special congregational meeting.

Pastor Jones graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a degree in actuarial science. During her internship, she realized that this was not the field that she wanted to pursue. She had enjoyed her time with the Lutheran Center Campus Ministry program as a Peer Minister as well as her time at Luther Park Bible Camp as a counselor. She decided to explore ministry and so spent a year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps as a Ministry Assistant at All Peoples Church in Milwaukee, WI. It was during that time that she confirmed her sense of call and so enrolled in the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) where she received a Master of Divinity in Parish Ministry. During her time at LSTC, she received the James Kenneth Echols Prize for Excellence in Preaching. For the past three years, she has served as a solo pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church in Superior, WI.

The call committee was excited both by the relational focus of Pastor Jones’ ministry as well her desire to bring ministry into the community. We believe she is uniquely qualified to help Messiah move forward as we come out of pandemic by building on the excellence of the faith formation program for children and youth.  We hope you will join us at the congregational meeting on December 12 at the conclusion of worship service to vote on extending a call to Pastor Jones along with the compensation package.

As a reminder, here is the nearly two-year journey that Messiah has been through to get to this point:

1) In early 2020, the church council appointed a Faith Formation Task Force after Traci Vatne announced that she would be stepping down from ministry in August of 2020. On August 10, 2020, the task force brought a report to the church council with the recommendation of hiring a Pastor of Faith Formation. This report can be found on Messiah’s website using this link. Members of this task force included: Anne Baunach, Sarah Caffoe, Kam Chamberlain, Wendy Doman, Christi Gillette, Joe Hamell, Ruthanne Henderson, Alex Littlefield, Kim Radabaugh and Sandi Wollum. At its September 17, 2020 meeting, the Messiah Church Council moved to initiate a call process for a full-time Pastor of Faith Formation with the Southwest Washington Synod using the Faith Formation Task Force as a guiding source.

2) The church council appointed a transition team to take the recommendations from the Faith Formation Task Force and work with the congregation to develop a Ministry Site Profile outlining the pastoral position we wanted to fill. The members of this group include: Jonathan Baunach, Heather Caffoe, Nova Fergueson, Joe Hamell, and Anna McAlpin. This team held Zoom gatherings and surveyed the congregation in regards to the call of a Pastor of Faith Formation. They developed the Ministry Site Profile which the synod began to share.

3) The church council appointed a call committee to take the recommendations from the Faith Formation Task Force and Transition Team and begin to search for our Pastor of Faith Formation. Members of this team include Anne Baunach, Dan Fergueson, Christi Gillette, Joe Hamell, Lauren Mendez, Ryan Monsen, and Sandi Wollum. Assistant to the Bishop Rev Rebecca Shjerven guided the process. The synod first provided the call committee with three candidates. The committee held two in-depth interviews with both candidates. The committee then decided to bring Pastor Bridget Jones to Auburn for an in-depth weekend of meetings and interviews which occurred the weekend of November 19 – 21.

Pastor Bridget met with the church staff, many youth of Messiah, families of Messiah, and spent hours with the call committee in both formal and informal interviews. She worshiped with the congregation this past Sunday morning. At the conclusion of this weekend, the call committee unanimously voted to ask the church council to call a special meeting of the congregation. The council then voted to call this special meeting and scheduled it for December 12 at the conclusion of our worship service.

The call committee members would be happy to answer any questions that the congregation may have about Pastor Jones. We thank you for the opportunity to serve the congregation in this manner.

In service –
Anne Baunach, Chair, Call Committee
Anne Baunach

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