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  • Writer's pictureWoodland Park Presbyterian Church

We're welcoming a new co-Pastor!

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

The PNC -- consisting of Tom Howard, Margie Lutrell, Abby Brockway, Polly Peterson, and Matt Schultz -- has been hard at work since last spring to put forth a candidate to the congregation for consideration of the co-pastor position. We have done extensive work developing our Mission Statement for publication in the Presbyterian system and reviewing the resulting applications for the open position. After reviewing numerous applications and speaking with several candidates, the committee unanimously voted to bring a candidate for the congregation to consider at a special congregational meeting on Sunday January 9, 2022. The candidate’s name is Joseph Sheeran. We have offered the call to Joe, and he has accepted. Below is his bio.

Joe grew up in Novi, Michigan and is currently living in Commerce Township of Michigan. In between, Joe's work has led him to experiences in many places, such as Ohio (as a youth director and factory worker), South Dakota, Colorado and Boston (working with the Episcopals), and in Nashville where he participated in church leadership and community organizing.

Joe received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Oberlin College (2012) and a Master of Divinity at Vanderbilt Divinity School (2018). Joe has done chaplaincy work from 2017 to now, providing spiritual and emotional support for patients, families, and staff in multi-faith, socioeconomically diverse environments. Joe worked as a chapel intern where he helped coordinate worship. Joe became a ministry Intern at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He worked with pastoral staff to develop and lead new education programs, including two extended series, “Christologies for Social Action” and “Structural Racism and White Supremacy”.

Joe organized to support clergy and lay Christians bearing public witness to the Gospel and how the tenets of our faith speak to policy concerns facing the state, including the issues of healthcare access, immigrants’ rights, worker’s rights, economic equality, voter empowerment and environmental justice, through earned media coverage, online grassroots organizing, and direct advocacy of public officials. Joe also coordinated participation in grassroots advocacy efforts, empowering the witness and participation of members from 30+ churches in Eastern Massachusetts, advocating for various justice issues.

As you can see, Joe is very well versed in social justice work and also partnering with various groups in the community. His chaplaincy experience seems an incredible gift to our congregational care needs. He is a very warm person, easy to speak with, has a lovely sense of humor and is very bright. We feel he is an excellent candidate for the

position, and he looks forward to getting to know our congregation and developing his skills in the co-pastor position.

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