Senior Pastor Search News 2023

ST. JOHN’S UCC is in the process of choosing a new Senior Pastor.  This webpage provides current information on that search.


June 12, 2022 was the last Sunday before the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Susan C. Bertolette, who served St. John’s UCC as Associate Pastor, Co-Pastor & Senior Pastor for 42 years.  Sadly, Rev. Sue passed away in August, 2022.  We now have an Interim Senior Pastor at St. John’s, Rev. Dale Davis, who will serve with our permanent Associate Pastor, Rev. Adelaide Stong, until a new settled (permanent) Senior Pastor is chosen and installed. 


Some background:  Transition Team Announcement Read by Grace Bruen, July 17, 2022:  Good morning!  On behalf of the Transition Team, I have good news to share with you regarding our search for an Interim Pastor.  We have made a recommendation to Council to extend a call to an Interim Pastor.  Council has been provided details from the proposed call agreement and background on the recommended candidate.  We will hold a vote at the next Council meeting, August 8.  Assuming a positive vote from Council, we will share the name of the Interim and a letter of introduction so you can learn more about this person prior to their arrival in September.  We are planning for a start date of September 15.


As a reminder, a call to an Interim Pastor only requires a vote by Council.  When we transition to the search for a Settled Senior Pastor, the congregation will have an opportunity to hear the candidate preach at St. John’s prior to a Congregational vote on the candidate.


Thank you for all of your suggestions and support through this process.  We are extremely pleased with the identified candidate (and so is Pastor Addie!) and the candidate is equally excited to lead St. John’s through this time of transition and discernment.


Transition Team Announcement from Liz Rivett, Church Council VP – June 19, 2022
Today is the start of a new era at St. John’s. We are officially in a leadership Transition Phase – one in which we will deliberately pause, reflect and discern a path forward for St. John’s.   This is the first step of the journey, the first of many steps that we will take together. 

We want to take a few moments to provide you with an overview of what the summer is going to look like.  Our search for an Interim Pastor is ongoing, but we are expecting an Interim to be in place in September.  To bridge this gap, we are taking several important actions to ensure our current staff, our members and friends are well supported. 


First, we are very pleased to announce that Pastor Addie is assuming responsibility as the Acting Lead Pastor and will be in charge of all day-to-day activities of the church until the Interim is in place. We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Addie’s capabilities and gifts to fill this incredibly important role. 


While Pastor Addie is certainly amazing, she is only one person.  During July and August, she will be supported by several Guest Pastors who will preach on selected Sundays and also perform other pastoral duties as needed.  We have members of the congregation already identified to serve as Liturgists and to deliver the Children’s Sermons throughout the summer.  If you have other gifts that you would like to share during this time to support the work of the church, please reach out to myself, Bill, Pastor Addie, or any of the Elders.  It is a wonderful opportunity to “go the mile and share the load.”


It is also important to note that we have to be realistic about what can and cannot occur behind the scenes during the summer months. Again, Pastor Addie is just one person and some of the duties and tasks she led or shared under Pastor Sue’s leadership may be accomplished differently, or may fall lower on the priority list than they would under normal staffing levels.  Please keep Pastor Addie in prayer as she balances these many tasks and prioritizes as best she can for us all.


Lastly, while we will not have a Senior Pastor during the summer months, our budget and expenses remain unchanged.  We are fortunate to be able to repurpose funds from the Senior Pastor budget to recognize the increase in Addie’s responsibilities and support the Guest Pastors.  Although the leadership looks different, the work, responsibilities, and payroll continue, and the costs to run and maintain our beautiful building remain unchanged. 


We are taking all of these actions together to ensure that St. John’s remains whole – spiritually, operationally, and financially – so we are in an optimal position to call our new Senior Pastor.  We thank you for your continued support and prayers for
St. John’s leadership and our wonderfully Motley Crew


The information below is provided by our Pastoral Search Committee.  We will update this page as the search committee releases new information during the search process.



(read during worship by church council president Bill Leslie, April 3, 2022.)

It goes without saying that it is an impossible task to replace someone as talented and beloved as Rev. Sue. As we move into this next chapter in the life of St. John’s, we will keep the members and friends of St. John’s informed about our plans and progress on our journey to call our next Pastor.  Many of you have seen the announcement in the Herald that came out a few days ago. I wanted to speak to that and provide  newer information.
We have already started the process required to identify candidates for Interim Pastor. This person will perform ministerial activities and otherwise support the transition while we formally search for a “Settled” (permanent) Pastor. The goal is to have the Interim Pastor in place to start immediately after Rev. Sue’s last Sunday in June.
A small Transition Team has been formed. It is led by Liz Rivett (Council Vice-President) and is responsible for the search which will result in an Interim Pastor voted on by Church Council. The Team members are Dan Panachyda, Grace Bruen, Jessica Carson, Don Atkiss, Mark Bruen and Sally Atkiss. Please feel free to reach out to any of the Transition Team members with your questions, concerns, or suggestions.
We have also set up a Celebration Team to coordinate activities to recognize Rev. Sue leading up to her last Sunday. The Celebration Team is led by Amy Faga, and Sally Jarinko. Please contact them with questions or comments about celebration activities.
A separate, larger, Search Committee will be established later, responsible for identifying candidates for the Settled Pastor. This committee will be led by the Board of Elders with additional members selected from across the congregation. Membership will be selected to ensure it represents the full breadth of diversity that is the St. John’s “Motley Crew”. We will also be engaging with the congregation to solicit your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns. More details on how that will be arranged will come later.
We are very fortunate to have an incredibly talented & dedicated ministerial staff in Pastor Addie & Andrew, as well as excellent support staff already in place. They are playing key roles in the selection process. We are also receiving significant support from Rev. Kevin McLemore, PSEC Associate Conference Minister for Search & Call.
The process for identifying and selecting a new Settled Pastor can take 12-18 months, or possibly even longer. We are embarking an important journey; finding the right person to lead us into a new chapter at St. John’s will require input, support and patience from you, our members and friends.
We will continue to share updates and additional details regarding these Pastoral search activities periodically. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Bill Leslie or Liz Rivett with any questions you may have.