First Church Welcomes Transitional Senior Pastor Beth Ernest
Pastor Beth hails from Jamestown, in Western New York State. She has lived in Chicago, Boston, New Hampshire, Austria, and Sweden. She speaks Swedish and German, loves writing, reading mystery novels and knitting. Her undergraduate degree is from North Park University in Chicago. Her master of divinity was earned at Boston University School of Theology, where she majored in Bible and Pastoral Care and Counseling. She was ordained originally in the United Church of Christ, but later transferred her credentials to the Evangelical Covenant Church, the denomination in which she grew up. While with the UCC, she served on the steering committee that partnered with the Evangelische Kirche der Union, the UCC's sister church in Germany.
Beth has pastored nine very different churches (eight as a transitional or interim pastor), and also worked as a hospice chaplain. Her ministries have included large church, small church, urban, small town, rural, church plant and historic congregations. She has helped congregations navigate transitions of pastor, denomination, and church structure and has also been called on to help traumatized or conflicted churches find healing and revitalization.
Beth lives near Grand Rapids, MI, with her husband, James. They have two grown children, Miriam (24) and Samuel (21), and an Irish Terrier named Orla. Miriam is a ballet dancer in NYC and DC, while Sam is finishing university in Seattle. Pastor Beth will be staying at the parsonage the majority of the time but will travel back and forth to Michigan a few days each week. Her husband, who works as an academic acquisitions editor for a Christian publishing company, will join her here as often as he is able.