I write to let you know more about who I am as a person and as a pastor.
I refer to myself as Pastor Bruce. I believe it captures a little of who I am and who we are. We are not very formal here at Peace Church. I also think it is a reminder that no matter how informal we may become, I still have a spiritual responsibility and role.
I am twice married, no children, now single, and in my mid 50’s. My whole professional life has been in and around the church, either directly with the United Church of Christ or partner denominations. Through my life as a minister I have done my best to follow my heart and not to get caught in “climbing the ladder.” It has led to some professional assignments that have left family and friends scratching their heads, until they stop and think about who I am, and then they say something like, “Oh, yeah, that sounds like Bruce.” I have served as a co-pastor, a solo pastor, a senior pastor. I have been a Director of Spiritual Life at a small Christian university, a chaplain in a nursing home, a lecturer, a chaplain in campground ministry, and a full time volunteer in a Children’s Home. I have served long term with a congregation and also been short term as an Intentional Interim (one who serves a congregation between pastors). My serving the church has led me to Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Iowa, St. Louis, New York, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Lebanon, Ghana—with renewal time in other locations.
The Peace Church model arises out of “Emerging Church”. Emerging church periodically includes a more formal message (like a sermon), but more often includes a message that arises out of discussion, is experiential in nature, or comes from another individual in the congregation or community. In a typical month I will offer a message one time and guide a discussion once, while participating the the balance of the gatherings in a variety of different ways.
While I may be the pastor, Peace Church is very much about its members. Currently Peace Church (with my blessing) is in the midst of shifting its model of church to a model that intentionally uses the gifts of its members and de-emphasizes such things as the traditional service and order of worship. I’m going with the “flow” as we discover new ways of being church.
I invite you to come, join Peace Church and me as we explore a life of faith together and as each of us strives to live a life of discipleship.
To date in 2017, Peace Church has supported the Pastor in Mission through such things as sending LGBTQ+ advocacy books to universities in Lebanon and Ghana, purchasing music resources for Christian Spiritual Life at a small Christian University in Lebanon, providing books for a book discussion on Progressive Christianity in Lebanon, buying soccer balls for children across the globe, creating sewing kits for Ghana, and more. The congregation encourages reaching out to others–locally and internationally.