From the weather it’s clear that summer has arrived in West Seattle, and for West Side that means closing out our program year and moving into a season of rest and recharge for the next year. When I was the Summer Youth Worker at West Side a decade ago, I remember cherishing many quiet afternoons in the youth office, a cool breeze moving through the open windows on a warm day, spending time writing an upcoming Bible study, reflecting on our program, and just starting to plan for events that were still weeks and months away. We had all kinds of camping trips, BBQs, and Bible studies at the pool, all scheduled on the calendar, but those restful and intentional days spent looking ahead made it possible to take notice and really enjoy how God was at work among us.
In a way that is what this current time is all about. While the Pastor Nominating Committee is nearing the home stretch in their search for West Side’s next head of staff pastor, they’re not quite done yet. We realized that we would need a senior pastor to serve as a bridge until the hiring of our next called pastor, since our Interim Pastor Shari of two years is taking her next call at John Knox Presbyterian Church starting in August.
The Personnel Committee recommended The Rev. Keith Tanis to us to serve in this role, and in June the Session moved to hire Keith as Bridge Pastor for 60 days over August and September. You may remember Keith preaching at West Side back in January and challenging us to take notice of what God is doing in our local community. In recent years The Rev. Tanis has served as Lead Pastor of an 800 member congregation in Artesia, California, was Interim Pastor at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church in Spokane, Washington and most recently served as Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Olympia. Keith describes himself as a pastor in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition with deep and wide experience in ministry, whose spiritual gifts are leadership, teaching/preaching and hospitality. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Marti.
West Side has great momentum to continue this summer and into the fall with our Community Meals, the new Evening Service underway, youth mission trip and retreats, visits from our missionaries, and many other exciting ministries. Keith’s leadership will help to shepherd us into the fall as he works collaboratively with the Session, our dedicated church staff and our beloved Parish Associate Ron Rice. Most of all, Keith will help us to embrace this God-ordained time of rest and anticipation: to recharge with our eyes on the ministry that is ahead and to eagerly anticipate as a church what God will bring with our next called pastor. It’s been two years of hard work and waiting, and I pray that as a church we are blessed beyond our imagination by what God has in store for West Side in the months and years ahead.
May Christ be all around us,
Clerk of Session