Dear Castleton United Methodist Church,
You have a long reputation for being faithful Disciples of Christ who serve your community. I’ve heard about your ministry for years. I’ve known very faithful folks who were raised as part of Castleton’s church community.
I realize that being appointed to serve as Lead Pastor of Castleton UMC means I am entering a long, rich history. I enter a family story right in the middle, and join a long line of faithful pastors. Going through another pastoral change can be unsettling. However, Christ holds the future and in Him we can place our trust. I am honored to be part of that future as we serve Christ together in the days to come.
As you have read, I am a second career pastor. I taught elementary students and then through the Indiana Department of Education, I was a professional development coach for teachers and school administrators. Through a long discernment process, I answered Christ’s call to serve in vocational ministry by first entering seminary. There I met my husband, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs. He is also a United Methodist minister who is serving as Chaplain, Director and Faculty at University of Indianapolis. Our son came to us at the age of two; De’Avalon (DE’) is now almost nine! I am a die-hard Indiana University fan, while Jeremiah is a die-hard Tennessee Vols fan. De, hasn’t yet decided. Jeremiah loves guitar, I love hiking, and De loves video games. We all agree on our love of chocolate.
The three of us look forward to beginning our service with the Castleton church family in July. Jeremiah and I share a passion for Christ and His church. More specifically, we see the Spirit powerfully working through the church to share Christ’s healing, peace, and justice with human hearts and their communities. Castleton UMC’s website describes a vision of being, “An outward facing circle of people; seeking, reaching, and welcoming others to join us in serving Jesus Christ.” We are excited about this vision and how it claims the purpose of the church and the working of God’s Spirit!
In the days to come, I will be in prayer for Pastor Bert as he concludes his faithful service and plans for his well-earned retirement. I will be in prayer for your leadership, staff, and church community as you live into change. May you know the peace of Christ that passes all understanding and guards your hearts and minds in Him, (Philippians 4:7). I will also be in prayer for the broader community you serve as you continue to seek, reach, and welcome neighbors in service to Jesus Christ! I look forward to meeting you!
Serving Christ Together,
Rev. Jen S. Gibbs