The Future at First

In 2016 First Church took the first steps toward the next chapter in its long and storied history.  With the announcement to the Session during the summer of Rev. Jesse Garner's intention to retire in the summer of 2018, the church—after consideration of its options by the congregation’s leadership and extensive consultation with the Presbytery of Philadelphia—chose to pursue the course of calling a new pastor who would serve for a short period of time with Rev. Garner as a co-pastor.  Upon Jesse's retirement, the new pastor would then become the sole pastor and head of staff of the church.

The Mission Study

The first step in calling a new pastor was the completion of a Mission Study by a team appointed for that purpose.  Using a congregational assessment tool involving an online survey that was completed by 191 persons (more than our average attendance on Sundays!), the team produced a wonderfully complete and informative report that will provide guidance for the church not only in its search for a new pastor but in charting the course of its ministry in the years to come.  The Mission Study Report was approved by the Session in February, and by the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry on March 2.


A Pastor Nominating Committee was elected at the Annual Meeting on March 12, 2017.  The PNC members are Reggie Amoa, Andrea Bowman, Cynthia Decrucq, Courtney Friedman, Dave Huting (Convener), Diane Rogers, and Michael Smith.  As Convener, Dave Huting is in charge of calling the first meeting of the PNC so they can begin their work.