Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky intends to appoint the Rev. Kathy Neary to serve as Transitional Ministry Developer for the Pacific Northwest Conference, beginning July 1, 2018. This new position, nested in the Office of Connectional Ministries, is funded through savings from our redistricting allowing the conference to respond missionally to the unique needs of smaller churches.
In this role, Rev. Neary will work with churches that face sustainability and vitality challenges helping them to consider alternative models for ministry in their missional context. In addition to working directly with congregations needing immediate assistance, she will also develop resources, training and a self-sustaining system for such adaptive work within districts. In this, Rev. Neary will collaborate with the PNW Appointive Cabinet and the Greater Northwest Area Innovation Cultivation Team.
“As we work to reach out to new people through new ministries, we aren’t abandoning churches that are struggling,” said Bishop Stanovsky. “We know that many churches need to adjust their expectations to fit their changing contexts. Kathy has a heart for churches of all sizes and is eager to help those that can’t go on in their present form to consider options and make wise, life-giving choices for the future.”
Kathy Neary entered ministry after beginning a career as a research scientist in the field of molecular biology. She attended the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, and receiving her M.Div. there in 1998. Her first appointment was as campus pastor to the Common Ministry at Washington State University in Pullman. Subsequently she has served as pastor to a number of small rural and urban United Methodist churches including the Seattle: Green Lake, Connell, and Vancouver: Orchards in the Pacific Northwest Conference. She also served as an intentional interim pastor for McMinnville Cooperative Ministries in the Oregon-Idaho Conference.
Currently, Rev. Neary is serving as an interim pastor to the people of Goldendale United Methodist Church in central Washington. She is also a member of the Conference Board of Finance and Administration and served previously for 12 years on the PNW Board of Ordained Ministry.
“I have a deep passion for helping people and congregations recognize the spiritual journey they have been on, and for helping them discern the next steps along that journey,” Rev. Neary shared noting that while we never stop growing in faith, new ways forward might be necessary. “I’m looking forward to listening to people’s stories of faith as we work together toward God’s preferred future for us.”