Because Pastor Pat is starting with us, I (Joshua) thought it might be helpful to have a Q&A with her so we could get to know her better. Let me know what your thoughts are on this kind of feature – we might keep it around to get to know other folks and teams in the congregation. OK, enough from me – I’m handing it over to Pr. Pat.
My name is Pat Mohr-Kelly, but I’m usually called Pastor Pat and because my full name is lengthy, I use PPMK as shorthand for most communication. Your church council has graciously extended the opportunity to be your Interim Minister. It is holy work to help a congregation grieve, find peace, and look to the future with hope that God provides.
I am the youngest of 6 children, raised on a small dairy farm in Northwest Ohio. I graduated from high school (21 in my class:)), from Defiance College (BS in Accounting), University of Toledo (MBA in organizational development).
My first career was in Community College as an instructor and Admissions Coordinator. My favorite position was leading the Phoenix Project, a support system for those who were academically and/or economically disadvantaged. It was a foretaste for my second career. In the middle of my life, God called me to ministry. I was reluctant to attend seminary because of the divorce I had just completed. But God was insistent.
I attended Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque IA. My internship was in Pittsburgh, and I said I didn’t want to go to a big city. But go I did. My first call was in Battle Creek MI (home of Tony the Tiger). I didn’t want to serve a suburban congregation. But serve I did.
In 2008, I entered my second call, Stewart Avenue Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh PA. (Remember how I didn’t want to go there:)) After 6 or 7 years, I completed the Interim Ministry Training and served St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Carrick PA.
We moved to Santa Fe in 2017 so that I could serve as Interim Minister at Lutheran Church of the Servant. I retired from active ministry in 2019 – just before the pandemic.
I am entering my third career – that of building up the library and finding ways to get children to love reading and love libraries. For the past year I have been known as Ms. Pat the Library Lady, at Cross of Hope Lutheran Church and School. What a lovely job – kids and books – how much better does it get than that.
To serve St. Timothy as Interim Minister, the bishop asked me to UNRETIRE. I didn’t even know that was a word. So here I am fresh off the retirement life to serve with joy God’s beloved people of St. Tim.
As I write this reflection, it becomes obvious that every time God calls, I am resistant and fearful. But God is insistent. And trusting God’s guidance I followed the call. I’m sure I’ve made God smile when I say “I’m no doing that, I’m not moving there”.
My husband Richard and I have been married for almost 23 years. Many said it wouldn’t last, but God does work in mysterious ways. We live at the corner of Coors and Montano Plaza on the west side.
I have 3 adult children, Amy (Butch), Mike, and Rob (Angela). They each have a son and a daughter, and I have one great grandson. I’m not that old – I just started when I was 10 :).
I have been asked to reflect on the following questions:
What are your impressions of St. Tim’s so far? Be honest!
My first impression was that this is a very welcoming and inclusive community. There are so many diverse people here. And you seem to warmly and genuinely welcome us all. Thank you.
I also am impressed with the vital ministry you do outside the church doors. I am not aware of all of your ministries, but what I have become aware is that St. Tim recognizes needs and tries to address those needs, not just with a contribution, but with willing hands and caring hearts.
What do you find is one of the greatest gifts in going through the interim process for a congregation?
The Interim Process is so valuable to organizations, but also to people. After all, after a 10-year marriage you wouldn’t start dating the next month! You need time to celebrate your history with Pastor Rachael and to let your hearts feel sad for a time. But then to awaken to a new day and new future.
The process I hope to lead you through is one that covers these tasks:
1. Coming to terms with history
- Gather to remember their stories.
- Tell one another public and personal stories of the congregation,
- Teach newer members the history
- Articulate how God has been active in their history, through all the ups and downs.
2. Discovering a new identity
- A retreat to identify individual Spiritual Types and then discuss the overall congregational Spiritual Type
- Asset Planning – to determine individual gifts and talents each person has and then what the church has as assets . Combining these two perspectives – new ministries may emerge
- A Spiritual Gifts Inventory – always a fun time with food and conversation.
- Analyze the neighborhood – what’s changed
3. Managing shifts in leadership
- Identify skills and gifts needed from leaders
- Consider if this is a closed system of leadership or if there are openings for new leaders.
4. Strengthening our sense of being the church together
- Discuss the relationship with the synod and larger church
- Identify opportunities to minister with other denominations and congregations
My best advice for you is to Trust God in the process. Enter with joy and thanksgiving this new adventure set before you.
Pastor Pat (PPMK)