06 Dec Hold That Thought… Parish Associate(s) Update
So let me explain. For many years First Presbyterian has had one or two Parish Associates. This position is often filled by a retired minister on a part-time basis. The idea is for the Session to invite ministers to continue to serve the church in order to meet specific needs. You may remember that Dr. Howard Hansen served in this capacity for some twenty years before moving to Minnesota.
More recently Judy Cettei was our Parish Associate, serving faithfully for the last five years. She worked twenty hours per week, primarily in the areas of pastoral care, new members, and worship leadership. This past September Judy retired, again, to spend quality time with her family. Our congregation appropriately received a generous offering in order to thank her for a job well done.
And here is the important update. No one could have predicted how quickly things would change in Judy’s life. With the passing of her dear husband, Mike, I approached Judy to see if she might have any interest in returning to work. Her gracious answer did not surprise me. Judy said, “Yes, I would, but not twenty hours a week.” She went on to say that she would like to reduce her hours by half and focus primarily on new members. What a perfect answer for us! Starting in January Judy will continue to do what she does so well and enjoys so much.
So what about the pastoral half of this part-time position? Let me introduce a retired Presbyterian minister and good friend who has moved into our church family. Charles Elliott has served our denomination in almost every capacity—pastorates in the Carolinas, management positions at Presbyterian College and Thornwell Home, executive officer in multiple presbyteries, and interims throughout the area (including Mt. Pleasant and Georgetown). Now, most importantly for us, Charles will serve our church ten hours a week in pastoral care (hospitals, visitation, and care facilities) beginning this week. That Charles and his wife, Caryl, have family in our church is a bonus, for sure.
Finally, both Judy and Charles (pictured here) will be available to lead worship as needed. What a great and gifted resource they are for our staff and for our congregation. Having two wonderful people to share this one part-time position is the best of both worlds—and a special blessing to us all!