Becky Ensley Dobitsch BY DIANNE KAREHA
INTRODUCING Transitional Associate Pastor Dallas Bradel
In early October, FPCA announced that the Transitional Associate Pastor Search Team contracted the Rev. Dallas Bradel to join our pastoral staff for 12 months beginning November 3. Her services may be extended on a month- by-month basis, if needed. She will provide a full range of pastoral ministry while focusing on pastoral care along with faith formation.
Dallas is a native of western Pennsylvania who gave her life to Christ while studying at Lehigh University. After graduating with a law degree and passing the bar exam, she felt God calling her to full-time ministry.
At Gordon-Conwell Teological Seminary in Massachusetts, she earned a master of divinity and a master of arts in counseling, then served as a director of children’s ministry in Connecticut before being ordained in the PC(USA) and serving as an associate pastor for Christian education at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Cornelius, NC. When that church went through a split and her position was closed, Dallas returned to New England to serve as interim pastor of Windham Presbyterian Church in Windham, NH. She completed her service there at the end of October.
Dallas has a passion for teaching God’s word and loving God’s people. Although called to singleness, she continues to champion young families and children as they grow in Christ. She is excited to be joining FPCA’s staff, learning how we engage the secular culture, addressing matters of social justice while proclaiming the Gospel, and maintaining a clear commitment to being guided by the scriptures.
Please keep Dallas in your prayers as she makes her move to Allentown. UPDATE FROM THE PASTOR NOMINATING COMMITTEE
As we welcome transitional associate pastor Dallas Bradel (see above), Session has commissioned a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) to begin the work of finding a permanent associate pastor. (Dallas Bradel’s position is transitional and should not be confused with the search being undertaken by the PNC.)
PNC members include Ruth Asiedu-Ansah, Alicen Bailey-Silfies, Maddie Brown, Kimberly Ceccatti, Bill Coles, Nancy Holler, Chip Layfield (chair), Bob Martin, and John Rowley.
The PNC is meeting weekly and following procedures set out by Presbytery, which include preparing a Mission Statement and Ministry Information Form, and communicating with Session and Lehigh Presbytery. Once these documents are approved, the position will be advertised and the national search for qualified candidates will begin. Evaluation of resumes will follow with interviews and visits of leading candidates. Finally, a candidate will be recommended to Session and the congregation for confirmation.
The PNC’s work must be done confidentially, but your suggestions and prayers are most welcome. 10
When Rebecca Anne Ensley Dobitsch was ordained as a teaching elder at FPCA on the afternoon of Sunday, August 19, 2018, her family and friends celebrated with her in some very special ways.
Her husband, Chris, read from the New Testament; her father, elder Rick Ensley, served on the Ordination Commission, led the call to worship, and participated in the laying on of hands and welcoming of the newly ordained. Rev. Shawn Hyska (a fellow student with Becky at Princeton Teological Seminary) and Rev. Suzanne Brooks-Cope (Becky’s liaison with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry) offered words of wisdom during the sermon and charge to the newly ordained. Elders William Lester and Martha Cox from FPC- Lehighton, Rev. Dr. Charles Colson (honorably retired), and Rev. Dr. Carol Brown (honorably retired and moderator of Lehigh Presbytery) participated in the service, too, as did several friends who have known Becky from FPCA: Tom Dressler (organist, choir director), Gloria Snyder (organist), our Chancel Choir, and several other musicians; elders Marsha Heimann (stated clerk of Lehigh Presbytery) and Rebecca Short; Rev. Dr. Jack Haberer (senior pastor); and Rev. Dr. Michael Drake (honorably retired).
Nieces and cousins collected the offering, which was received for the benefit of the Lehigh Presbytery Pastor’s Emergency Fund. Becky’s mother Karen, as well as Becky’s grandparents, sisters, extended family, and other friends, were also present to support her.
A buffet reception in the Fellowship Hall followed the service after the charge and benediction by the newly ordained Rev. Dobitsch.
Jeff Aiken as Pastor Emeritus On Sunday, September 30, FPCA welcomed back to the pulpit former pastor Jefferson Aiken and granted him the title pastor emeritus. In a specially rescheduled worship schedule, the church had just two English language services with him preaching, at 8:45 (alternative) and 10:30 (traditional). A reception followed in Fellowship Hall.
Being named pastor emeritus recognizes Dr. Aiken’s long-term service to Christ and His church. It carries no pastoral responsibilities, tasks, or compensation but simply acknowledges our appreciation for the many positive ways Jeff made an impact on the congregation.
During his time as pastor, Jeff led FPCA to become one of the first congregations in the country to singlehandedly build a Habitat for Humanity house. With Moufid Khoury, he launched the Arabic fellowship. He guided the congregation through numerous renovations of church facilities while also retiring the church’s debt. Concurrently, he helped strengthen the church’s financial condition. In his 14-year tenure (1992-2007), our annual giving grew by 150 percent, enabling the part of those funds sent to the mission field to soar above an extraordinary 20 percent. Jeff also reached out beyond FPCA by chairing boards at Lehigh Valley Hospital, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Board of Pensions, and Presbyterian Homes.
In honoring Jeff, current pastor Jack Haberer quoted Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
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