The Watchung Ave. Presbyterian Church of North Plainfield NJ and Trinity-United Church of Warren NJ are seeking a full-time interim to work with both congregations. The churches are similar in style and theological perspective. Both churches are Open and Affirming and include members of the LGBT community in worship and service. Both have begun to work through some conflict and desire to continue the healing process. Both express readiness to clarify a sense of mission and vision that engages the community around them. Both want to be proactive in pursuing change that strengthens the congregations’ viability.
The congregation at Trinity is a mature population with several younger families with elementary aged children. The church maintains several active internal ministries, including committees for Worship, Christian Ed, Mission and Member Care, a prayer chain, and a prayer shawl ministry. Outreach ministries include Warren Community Giving Garden, Somerset County Food Bank, Yoga classes, and take-out church to shut-ins. The church also gives to numerous community organizations. Trinity United is the union of a Presbyterian and United Church of Christ congregation, governed by a Covenant Board.
The community of Warren is known for its safety, its excellent K-8 school district and regional high school in neighboring Watchung, its open spaces and working farms, and proximity to New York City. According to the 2010 census, the population is 15,311, middle and upper middle class/wealthy, predominantly anglo, with homes that are mostly owner-occupied single units.
The congregation at Watchung Ave. is a mature population, with most members in the 50 to 80 year range, including ten who are homebound due to age or illness. Several active ministries use the church facility, including two Hispanic congregations. The church hosts WIC, ESL classes, Zumba classes, and luncheons after funeral services. Members are engaged with the Faith Garden, choir, prayer Shawl ministry, CROP walk, two groups of Bible study, the Women’s Resource Center, and food and clothing distribution through the St. Vincent DePaul Society. The church recently completed the New Beginnings congregational assessment and discernment process and is primed for leadership that will help them re-direct their ministries to the community.
The community of North Plainfield is a working and middle class community of 22,000. A large influx of immigrant Hispanic families in the last 10 years gave rise to pockets of poverty and the need for community and county services. Immigrants often come without a working knowledge of English. Children become fluent from school attendance. The ethnic population is principally Hispanic, White and African American. Eleven percent live below the poverty level of $24,000 for a family of four. Rentals are as low as $600 a month. Property taxes remain high and many seniors on a fixed income move within New Jersey or leave the state. Most houses are detached or have two to four apartments. There are four apartment complexes. Schools function below the state average.
A description of the qualities sought in an Interim pastor, goals for the interim period and responsibilities, can be found here. The joint search team welcomes qualified applicants from the PCUSA and the UCC. Interested applicants are requested to send a Personal Information Form to Co-Chairs Sarellen Hogan firstname.lastname@example.org and Carol Beaver email@example.com with a copy sent to presbytery Transitional Leader Cheryl Galan firstname.lastname@example.org