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Rev. Peter Wilkinson

Interim Pastor

Introduction Letter

Greetings, the Community of Central Presbyterian Church!

I am Rev. Peter Wilkinson. It is my great honor to have been called by the Session to serve Central Presbyterian as the Interim Pastor during this time of pastoral transition. As we are all experiencing the challenges of living though the uncertainty of this Covid pandemic, I am excited to see how God will walk with us during this time of transition. My goals during this time will be to serve God faithfully, preaching, teaching, offering pastoral care, guiding the staff, and moderating the Session through the process which will prepare the congregation to call a new installed pastor. Let me introduce myself more fully.  

 

I grew up in Lafayette, Indiana. Attended Purdue University where I received a B.S. in Management. I moved to San Francisco following graduation and worked as an accountant (two tax seasons taught me that I DID NOT want to be an accountant!). I volunteered at an agency in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Donaldina Cameron House, that led me to attend seminary. I attended San Francisco Theological Seminary and then began serving churches in the Midwest. I first served as an Associate Minister at a church in Indianapolis. I then served two churches as an Interim Pastor and a church as a Designated Pastor. I then served a church in Illinois for twelve years and now concluding my ministry of fourteen years at First Presbyterian Church in Rutherford.

 

I have been married for 32 years to Janice Burgess (we met in Indianapolis). Jan is currently serving as the Director of MMO Preschool Programs at First Congregational Church in Montclair. We have two “homemade” children, Madeleine and Evan. They both work with Jan at MMO. While in Rutherford, our family expanded as it now includes two foster children, Kaitlin and Emma Knight. Kaitlin Knight Duracher now lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, with her husband Mitchell who is on active duty in the Navy. Emma is currently living in Manhattan and working in the City. At this point, Jan, Maddie and myself are looking forward to living in the Manse and the gift of a shorter commute to work! Maddie’s dog, Rue

is a delight to remind us how we are loved!

 

I enjoy listening to jazz, read, eating desserts, talking with friends, cheering on the Chicago Cubs, Bulls and Bears, and enjoy God's sense of humor. I am looking forward to having a gym near my office and am willing to play a game of “horse” with anyone (playing basketball is part of the DNA of almost everyone who grew up in Indiana).

 

As I have shared LOTS of information about myself and my family. I have a

specific call to walk with you during this important transition time. My ultimate job is to work myself out of a job. We will go through a process of discovery. We will discover what makes Central the unique community of faith that it is and how it looks at its future. We will discover how it experiences and shares Christ. We will discover the direction it seeks to move into the future and ultimately discover the person who will be called as the next pastor.

 

I am finding that there are three gifts that I hope defines my ministry with you. First, I am a very curious person. I will ask lots of questions as we all ask questions about what life together at Central will be about in the years ahead. I have found a sense of curiosity is a spiritual gift that allows us to be open to God’s plan and not our human agendas. Second, I seek to be a good listener. I find the better I listen, to God, to others, the more likely I can participate in fulfilling God’s plan. Finally, I want us to have FUN. I am a strong believer that living life with a sense of Joy allows me and us to live through the trying, anxiety filled times we are experiencing with a perspective of how our God will be present.

 

I take my calling very seriously, but recognize that having a sense of humor allows me the opportunity to experience God’s love and grace.

I know this is a LONG letter of introduction. I am looking forward to working with the Session, Deacons, the staff and all who volunteer. I am excited to get to know you and the community. I will make myself available to meet with people as individuals, families or groups in a manner that keeps people safe. I am looking forward to beginning my

ministry with you on March 1. We will indeed discover, together, what God has in store for us during these unique times.

Peace,

Pete