Search Updates

It is with great joy that the Associate Pastor Search Committee announces our discernment to call The Reverend Genevieve (Genna) Hosterman as our next Associate Pastor!

Save the Date!
May 21 & May 22

Our congregation will have several opportunities to meet The Reverend Genevieve (Genna) Hosterman on Candidating Weekend.

If you have any questions or input, please reach out the search committee chairs.

Saturday, May 21
10:00am – 11:00am – Meet the Pastor – Zoom Only Event

2:00pm – 3:00pm – Young families Meet the Pastor (church playground)

4:00pm – 5:30pm – Meet the Pastor (on the lawn)

Sunday, May 22
10:00am – 11:00am Worship Service & followed immediately by a Congregational Vote on the Associate Pastor (in the Sanctuary and on Zoom)

11:15am – 12:15pm Reception on the lawn

A Note From Rev. Genna Hosterman:

Hello Beloved,

As we prepare for Candidating Weekend in a few short weeks, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit about myself…

I first discerned a call to ministry when I was 13 years old. Although my beliefs and my understanding of ministry has changed over the years, the thing that has remained consistent is my love of church communities and what they can do together. I especially love the Church for the ways it can bring hope and healing to people, through fellowship, acts of justice, and the sharing of Communion.

When I’m not working, you can find me doing a number of creative projects—I enjoy sewing, thrifting, and fashion, and also love to sing and play guitar and violin. When I need to relax, nothing hits the spot like a warm drink, a fire in the fireplace, and some reality television.

In the video below, I share a bit more about why I feel called to South Church and what I love about this community. I look forward to getting to know you more in the coming weeks!

Yours in faith,

5/4/22: It is with great joy that the Associate Pastor Search Committee announces our discernment to call The Reverend Genevieve (Genna) Hosterman as our next Associate Pastor!

Our committee truly felt the Holy Spirit among us when we unanimously discerned that we wanted to call Rev. Hosterman to South Church. As we began the process last summer, we wondered how we would ever find someone who not just met our long list of qualifications, but also embodied our core competencies: Caring, Empathy and Insight. Reverend Hosterman exceeded our expectations in every regard.

Reverend Hosterman, a native of Pennsylvania, graduated with her Master’s of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 2020. She is a recently ordained minister through Central Association of Penn Central Conference, and received a B.A. from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in Communication, focusing in public discourse and performance, with a minor in Psychology, focusing in counseling skills.

We know she will be a wonderful addition to our South Church Staff and are so excited for you to meet her!

1/11/22: Over the past few months our committee has been busy writing our church profile – a 57 page document with a job description and very detailed report on our church. On December 29th, our profile went live! We are now gearing up for the interview phase of the search and prayerfully waiting to receive ministerial profiles to review. More information will be coming soon! The committee is always available for your questions/input and can be reached by email here.

11/11/21: The Associate Pastor Search Committee is in the process of writing the church profile by combining input from 18+ listening sessions and online forms. Target for completion of the profile is early December. Once submitted, the profile and job description typically post in 6 weeks. The committee is always available for your questions/input and can be reached by email here.

9/10/21: By the end of November, we want to have completed our “South Church Profile” to paint a picture of who South Church is for potential associate pastor candidates. Check out our colorful poster with the search process steps and add a note in response to “Who are we? Who is our neighbor? Who is God calling us to become?”

9/3/21: The Associate Pastor Search Committee invites you to answer the following questions as we reopen to help shape our church profile for the search. Who are we? Who is our neighbor? Who is God calling us to become?

7/23/21: The Associate Pastor Search Committee was unanimously and enthusiastically approved by vote of the South Church Council. Commissioning of the committee will be part of an upcoming virtual Sunday worship service and again at an in-person service in the fall. The Committee has begun its work and will seek congregational input at several meetings throughout August. Stay tuned! The nine members of the search committee are: Marge Chiafery, Dennis Forgue, Sherri Hallgren, Susan Henke, Katie Holden, Mike Longo, Kath Mason (Co-chair) , Wayne Shaw (Co-chair) and Eric Stubenhaus.

The search process in the UCC is a blend of employment work and spiritual work. We use the word call to reflect that distinct blend of the practical and the sacred. A congregation does not hire a new pastor but calls a pastor, following a careful business-like search that is infused with prayerful attention to God’s direction. Candidates do not seek a new job but enter into an employment process in order to be rooted in new ways within God’s call. For your church and for the candidates, the search and call process is a spiritual journey that trusts God to be an active participant.

Lynn Baab began a series of posts about Holy Spirit disruptions. She writes “… the worship leader opened the service by saying that she hoped we would all experience the Holy Spirit’s disruption. I was quite taken aback by her words, because most of the time I look to God for comfort, guidance, peace, joy . . . not disruption! Later in the service, the preacher talked about Jesus’ words to the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised gift from the Father. The preacher talked about how waiting can be a form of disruption. The disciples didn’t know what was coming or when it would come. With hindsight, we know the promised gift was the Holy Spirit, who turned the lives of the disciples upside down in so many ways and made it possible for the Gospel to spread throughout the world, even to us, almost two millennia later.

One of the disruptions of waiting has to do with time. God calls us to wait for something, and even short periods of time seem to last forever. Sometimes that waiting comes from reasonably clear guidance from God. Even when we know God has guided us to wait, time so often seems to crawl. Waiting disrupts the flow of time.

Another disruption that comes with waiting for God to act is the fact that we usually don’t know precisely what’s going to happen. People waiting to find a life partner, couples waiting to conceive, job seekers waiting for an interview, patients waiting for an appointment with a doctor. . . we just don’t know what will happen. I’ve been painting a dresser. With each coat, I have to wait until the paint is dry to see how it looks. My painting project – and the blobs and drips revealed after the paint is dry – is a tiny example of the fact that we seldom know the outcome when we have to wait for something. Sometimes a huge amount of emotion is invested in the outcome, and both the waiting and the result are a significant disruption.

I can offer no easy answers for the disruption of waiting, even when it is clearly a Holy Spirit disruption because God has called us to wait. All we can do flex our trust muscles, and hope that the hard work of trusting God this time will make it easier to trust God the next time.”

Holy Listening

Congregational consultant and seminary professor Craig Satterlee uses the term “holy listening” to describe the kind of listening we do when we seek to discern “the presence and activity of God in the joys, struggles, and hopes of the ordinary activities of congregational life, as well as the uncertainty and opportunity of change and transition.”[i]
This kind of listening is holy because when we engage in it, we are hoping and expecting to encounter God. Leaders and members of a congregation can listen in a holy manner in a variety of places and activities, as Satterlee describes so vividly. He believes holy listening is indispensable, because it builds intimacy in congregations and helps people connect with each other in a way that goes beyond the superficial, resulting in powerful bonds between people.
Satterlee notes that our listening is imperfect, because we are flawed people with our own agendas, but we can try to listen attentively and carefully. He writes:
Holy listening demands vigilance, alertness, openness to others, and the expectation that God will speak through them. Holy listening trusts that the Holy Spirit acts in and through our listening. We discern and discover the wisdom and will of God by listening to one another and to ourselves.
When we engage in holy listening in conversations with people, we expect to meet God in new ways as well. What a gift!

(This post is adapted from Reverend Dr. Lynne Baab’s book, The Power of Listening: Building Skills for Mission and Ministry, and it first appeared on the Gathering Voices blog.
[i]“Holy and Active Listening” by Craig Satterlee, Alban Weekly, No. 98 (June 5, 2006).

Discernment – Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri J. M. Nouwen

“For Henri Nouwen, spiritual discernment is hearing a deeper sound beneath the noise of ordinary life and seeing “through appearances to the interconnectedness of all things, to gain a vision of how things hang together in our lives and in the world. Biblically, discernment is spiritual understanding and experiential knowledge, acquired through disciplined spiritual practice, of how God is active in our lives, which leads to a life worthy of our calling. It is a spiritual gift and practice that “ascertains and affirms the unique way God’s love and direction are manifested in our lives, so that we can know God’s will and fulfill our calling and mission within the mysterious interworkings of God’s love.”

“Henri emphasized that Christian discernment is not the same as decision making. Reaching a decision can be straightforward: we consider our goals and options; maybe we list the pros and cons of each possible choice; and then we choose the action that meets our goal most effectively. Discernment, on the other hand, is about listening and responding to that place within us where our deepest desires align with God’s desire. As discerning people, we sift through our impulses, motives, and options to discover which ones lead us closer to divine love and compassion for ourselves and other people and which ones lead us further away.”

“Henri believed that the Holy Spirit is an inner presence who is the deep center of our new life in Christ, a center from which discernment blossoms. Over time discernment becomes easier as we come to trust the knowing of the Spirit within us, but it always takes discipline to keep our focus. Like a sailor on the high seas, we need to remember our goal and intention, to put our trust in God, and to meditate on the qualities of Spirit that we want to embody. And we need to keep scanning our inner and outer lives to be sure that we are taking everything into account, scanning for signs of the Spirit’s presence, noticing its invitations, and listening for what Henri called “the voice of the beloved.” Discernment is a discipline and practice that requires us to cultivate trust, love, faith, hope, and courage. We cannot see with perfect clarity what lies ahead. And we cannot see the Holy Spirit within us. In fact, we have no tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit has made a home in us. Accepting and daring to put our trust in this possibility is a matter of faith. We cannot control the Spirit: I’ll end this devotion with a quote from John 3:8 – “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but” “you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Previous Listening Sessions

  • Sun., Aug. 8th following worship: On Zoom
  • Thur., Aug. 12th at 7:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Aug. 15th at 11:00am: On Zoom
  • Thur., Aug. 19th at 7:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Aug. 22nd at 11:00am: On Zoom
  • Mon., Aug. 23rd at 8:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Aug. 29th at 11:00am: On Zoom
  • Mon., Aug. 30th at 8:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Sept. 5th following worship: In-person
  • Sun., Sept. 12th: Info table at Homecoming
  • Mon., Sept. 13th at 7:00pm: On Zoom for ad-hoc Community Service teams
  • Sun., Sept. 19th following worship: In-person
  • Tues., Sept 21 at 7:00pm: Youth/Family session on Zoom (link below)
  • Thurs., Sept. 23rd at 7:30pm: Music session on Zoom (link below)
  • Sun., Sept. 26th at 8:30am: Faith Forum session
  • Sun., Sept. 26th following worship: In-person
  • Sun., Oct. 3rd following worship: In-person
  • Sun., Oct. 10th following worship: In-person

Being the Church: A found poem

Search Committee Commissioning: Aug. 11, 2021