October 5, 2017

Members and friends of Shepherd of the Hill –

Last Sunday, October 1st, we celebrated the tremendous gift of Rev. Gary Mathiesen’s time in ministry, including the last 26 years with us at SOTH. What a swirl of emotions we’ve all experienced in the lead up to Gary’s retirement and saying goodbye to Mary and Gary: Sadness, uncertainty, gratitude, joy, grief, and many other feelings!

As the next chapter begins for our congregation, we are happy to announce that Rev. Heather James will be serving as our Temporary Supply Pastor for the first three months of this journey. Heather served as pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church (Tacoma) prior to its closure earlier this year and is uniquely equipped to walk these first steps with us, lead our staff and our worship, moderate our Session meetings, and provide pastoral care for those in need. She plans to be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30am-2:30pm.

Session has contracted with Heather through January 14, 2018 while we continue to seek a Transitional Pastor who will journey with us through the remainder of the process of discernment, search, and nomination of our next Installed Pastor. Our hope is to have a Transitional Pastor in place early in the New Year.

The terminology and distinction between “temporary” and “transitional” may seem minor, but these are different pastoral roles suitable for the circumstances at various stages along the path from past to present and on to our future at SOTH.

Rev. James will join us for the Faith In Action Celebration Dinner on October 8th, so we hope you will come greet her and welcome her to our church family. Heather will lead our worship beginning on Sunday, October 22nd (she has a previous commitment on Oct. 15th) and be with us throughout the season of Advent – our time of communal discernment and personal examination as we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s birth and look with hope for Christ’s return.

Please feel free to ask questions of your session elders during this time of uncertainty. We are on this journey together with trust and confidence in God’s grace.

Peace and blessings,

Shepherd of the Hill Board of Session