For the last several months, the Staff Parish Relations Committee and I have been fretting over upcoming staff changes. We’ve been doing the hard work of revising job descriptions and interviewing candidates, as we also consider the future direction of our church’s ministry.
I am very happy to announce that we recently completed our work, and are ready to move forward with some new faces, while saying goodbye to a familiar face.
After Pier Crenshaw left us in April, the church contracted with Rebecca Creighton to lead us through the process of moving our financial records from Shelby to QuickBooks. She did such a great job handling the transition that we have asked her to stay on as Finance Secretary, while also shifting some of Pier’s responsibilities to Yvonne Boyack, our Office Manager.
Starting last week, Rebecca will be in the office once a week to cut checks, reconcile accounts, and run financials. Yvonne’s weekly hours have been increased, as she will take over data entry, handling bills, invoices, and contributions.
All questions that you have concerning your own giving may go directly to Yvonne in the front office. She has proven to be a capable and reliable member of our staff, and she handles everything with a friendly smile!
Four years ago, the church hired a relatively unexperienced young couple to be the Youth Minister and Children’s Minister. Matt and Paige Bell quickly assimilated into the Kessler Park congregation, and Matt began studies at Perkins School of Theology.
After two years, Paige stepped away from her work as Children’s Minister to focus on her new teaching job in Seagoville. Matt spent his fourth and final year at Perkins as a full-time intern at the church, and we have been the beneficiaries of his creativity and energy over the last year.
Originally Matt was planning to go into public education as an extension of his call to Christian ministry, but he got a surprise call from Rev. Mike Baughman, church planter and founder of Union Coffee Shop in Dallas. Mike invited Matt to join the Union staff as a Church Planter Resident, which means that Matt will be learning from Mike and others the skills and abilities needed to start new churches and ministries.
Personally, I’m very happy for Matt, as I think this position fits his unique skill set. But I’m also grieving that he is leaving our church community. Matt has served us well, and built great relationships with people of all ages.
We will wish Matt and Paige a fond farewell this coming Sunday, June 25, with a reception after the service, in which Matt will preach his last sermon for us.
The good news is that a new Youth Minister will start with us on the following Sunday, July 2. Our new staff member is Eva Englert-Jessen, who graduated from seminary last month herself. Eva earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociocultural Environmental Studies, with a Minor in Religious Studies at Hendrix College in Arkansas, and a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. She has just moved back to Dallas, her hometown, with her husband, whom she met in seminary.
Eva is a candidate for ministry in the United Methodist Church, and is hoping to be commissioned as a deacon in the North Texas Conference next summer. When she is ordained, she will become the first third-generation female clergy person in the state of Texas — both her grandmother and mother were ordained in North Texas. Her mother, Rev. Valerie Englert, currently serves as the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, Garland.
And if you haven’t figured out the connection yet, Eva is also the niece of our very own Office Manager. Yep, Yvonne is Eva’s aunt!
We are all very eager to learn more about Eva and her interests and passions, and that will be forthcoming. But for now, we will say goodbye to Matt and Paige, and celebrate the good work they have done among us!