This guest post was written by Caitlin Deyerle. Rev. Deyerle is the moderator of POJ’s Committee on Ministry. She has been the pastor of Southminster Church in Chesterfield since 2013.
When I was first called to Presbytery of the James, I came to Virginia not knowing a soul. I dove eagerly into my church work, but I knew that I was going to need to build some relationships in the area if I was really going to flourish here.
About a year later, when I saw that there was an opening on the Committee on Ministry (COM), I jumped on it. The Nominating Committee seemed quite surprised to have a volunteer—as any of you who have ever served on a nominating committee will understand! But for the last five years, I have been so glad that I made that call and took the leap to invest in the connectional church.
I have learned that COM is truly the backbone of the presbytery. We connect churches to resources and support when they need it most, particularly in times of pastoral transition or conflict. We support pastors by welcoming them into new calls, providing funds for special assistance, and reaching out to validated ministers and members at large to keep them connected to the larger church.
More often than people think, we also get to serve as a place churches can come to dream about new innovations that will help make our pastors stronger and our churches better.
This has been particularly true in this time of transition for Presbytery of the James. We have certainly made missteps along the way or found ourselves stretched beyond comfort. But even those moments have been a great teacher of humility and grace. Like all of our churches, COM is continually discovering what it means to be a presbytery in a changing religious landscape.
Most of all, I have established so many profound relationships through serving on COM alongside ruling and teaching elders, who represent every geographical area of our presbytery, and every size and shape of church. Their wisdom and friendship have meant a great deal to this Virginia transplant! Now I can look forward to presbytery meetings, where I know I will find myself greeted by many familiar faces.
I hope that if you ever find yourself receiving that call to serve on COM or in one of the many other roles in our presbytery that you will consider saying yes. I’m glad I did.
Pictured: (Back row) Steve Starzer, Christopher Tweel, John Flournoy (vice-moderator), Franklin Reding (POJ staff), Gordon Lindsey. (Front row) Brint Keyes, Caitlin Deyerle (moderator), Mary Jane Winters, Fran Hooper, Judy Thomson, Cherry Peters.