Introducing Rev. Kally Elliott & Some Additional Updates:

Posted: Fri, Nov 9, 2018
It is with great joy and excitement that I introduce Rev. Kally Elliott as our next Pastor for Spirituality, Community Life, and Pastoral Care. Rev. Elliott will join our pastoral staff at the beginning of January. Here is a brief letter of introduction from Rev. Elliott: “After growing up in San Diego and graduating from [...]

Rev. Dr. Steven Koski

It is with great joy and excitement that I introduce Rev. Kally Elliott as our next Pastor for Spirituality, Community Life, and Pastoral Care. Rev. Elliott will join our pastoral staff at the beginning of January.

Here is a brief letter of introduction from Rev. Elliott:

“After growing up in San Diego and graduating from the University of California, Davis, my husband Bryce and I discerned I should attend seminary at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, as we felt it was a good fit and an opportunity to experience the southeast. Both of us thought we would move back to the west coast upon my graduation from seminary, but instead I was called to be the Campus Minister and Director of the Presbyterian Campus Ministry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Working with college students shaped the way I continue to engage in ministry, believing ministry should be relational and often mutual. You spend time with people, listen to their stories, share your own, eat a lot of meals together, and just do life with them. My favorite part of college ministry was when a student would come to me with a deep and wondering question, and I got to sit with her as she struggled with a faith that was being cracked open and ultimately strengthened. After 11 years in Knoxville I was called to pastor a church and start a new worshiping community in Long Island.

Moving to Long Island was a cultural shock for me and for my family after living in the bible-belt South for so long. Innovative ministry is a must in Long Island if you have a chance of sharing good news with people. In our time in Long Island, I served as the solo pastor for two congregations while also planting Glenwood Table, a new worshiping community based on sharing various spiritual practices.

Bryce and I have four kids: Rylan (16), Spencer (13), Kellen (11), and Eve (7). Most of my “free” time is spent driving my kids to various activities, cheering at basketball or lacrosse games, doing laundry, running and working out, going to the grocery store, learning to play the guitar, meeting friends for coffee, going back to the grocery store – and doing more laundry. Bryce and I also like to sneak out for date nights or have friends over as often as possible.

Three and a half years ago my mother and step-father moved to Bend, OR, and I quickly took to the internet to peruse the church scene in their new town for them. I was immediately taken with the “Spacious Christianity” theme that popped up as soon as Google recognized my key words, “Presbyterian” “Bend” “Oregon,” and I found myself reading the entire First Presbyterian Church website. I have been interested in the ministry you all are doing in Bend since my first interaction with your website. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you and learning how I might walk alongside you as we continue to create a community of healing, grace and good news.”

~ Rev. Kally Elliott

You might recall that Session decided to replace the roles of Community Care Coordinator and Spiritual Care Coordinator with one role: Pastor for Spirituality, Community Life, and Pastoral Care. We had three options:

  1. Begin the search for a Called and Installed Associate Pastor;
  2. Hire an Interim Associate Pastor; or
  3. Hire a Stated Supply Associate Pastor with a 12-month renewable contract with the possibility that this person could become Called and Installed in the role at a later date.

The Session received Presbytery approval to hire a Stated Supply Associate Pastor. An Interim Associate Pastor would be inappropriate; we have a clear sense of direction, and there are no wounds or conflicts to heal. The process to Call and Install an Associate Pastor can take over 12 months, and our needs are too urgent for such a lengthy process.

We received Presbytery approval in September to search for a Stated Supply Associate Pastor, and the Session was given authority to hire this person. The Session formed a hiring team consisting of:

  • Debbie Barnes (Session)
  • Betty Bullis (Personnel and Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery)
  • Marcia Houston (Deacons)
  • Jean Hull (representing the congregation at large)
  • Steve Hummel (Session)
  • Gwen Jones (Chair of Personnel)
  • Myself

After reviewing several applications and interviewing two candidates, the Stated Supply Associate Pastor hiring team was unanimous and enthusiastic in its decision to extend an invitation to Rev. Kally Elliott. We are excited to welcome Rev. Elliott and her family to First Presbyterian in January. Stay tuned for more information on how we can best welcome the Elliott family to Bend and First Presbyterian, and how we can help Rev. Elliott have a great beginning in her ministry with us. Please pray for the Elliotts as they transition from New York to Bend.

BECAUSE LOVE:

I want to thank those who have already sent in their pledges to generously support the work of love that is ours to do at First Presbyterian. Hopefully you have received the brochure in the mail inviting your generosity. If not, please contact Laurie Honda, Communications & Marketing Coordinator ([email protected]), and she will get a packet to you ASAP.

It is extremely helpful to receive your pledges of financial support during the month of November as this helps us prepare our 2019 budget.

Additionally, we printed extra “Because Love” Annual Appeal brochures this year in the hopes that you might share them with others who may be interested in contributing to the great work happening at First Presbyterian, as well as invite them to attend our services. Research shows that congregation members most often find new places of worship to call home through word-of-mouth with their families, friends, and neighbors. We would sincerely appreciate your sharing the news about First Presbyterian’s ongoing ministry with others in your personal networks, Because Love!

THE LIBRARY AND CHILDREN’S SPACE TRANSITION:

This past Sunday, on the former library’s walls people wrote the names of the saints that have paved the pathways of faith before us and for whom we hold much gratitude. People also wrote prayers and blessings on the walls for the children who are currently part of our community, and the children who we hope will be part of our community 25 years from now. The space is now ready to be transformed. Primer and paint will cover the names of the saints, the prayers, and the blessings, but they will always be part of that space as we prepare for new beginnings. We hope to reveal and bless the new space at the beginning of the year.

The library is in the process of being relocated as part of The Center for Wellbeing & Wisdom on the lower level. We are actively working on increasing community awareness of The Center as well as the wonderful library resources while creating a cozy, comfortable reading space in this new location. Stay tuned for more information about a celebratory launch of the new library space in the new year. While in the church, also grab a copy or two of the Bend Health Guide; check out The Center for Wellbeing & Wisdom’s advertisement within it; and encourage a friend to come try a class with you.

Every day, we are surrounded by fear, division, distrust, and increasing violence. Our mission of “creating spaces of grace” in this harsh and hostile world could not be more urgent. I am grateful to share this ministry with you, and I invite you to recommit yourselves to the work of love that is ours to do.

As always, grateful to serve you and serve with you,

Steven