We are very happy to report that the IPNC, Interim Pastor Nomination Committee, has completed its work to identify the best candidate for our new interim pastor. Session has approved the IPNC’s recommendation and the New Hope Presbytery has confirmed that SAPC has the right candidate as our new Interim Pastor. We are extremely pleased to announce that Rev. John M. Semmes will be the new interim Senior Pastor and Head of Staff for Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church effective January 1, 2020.
John and his wife Cindy come to us from Atlanta, GA where John is completing an interim Pastor/Head of Staff assignment at the 1000-member Shallowford Presbyterian Church. He has held this assignment since September 2018. Previously, John was Pastor and Head of Staff at the 850-member First Presbyterian Church in Oxford, MS for fourteen years. He has also held Associate Pastor and Intern Pastor assignments since obtaining his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2001. In addition to John’s pastoral career, he had a successful career in sales within media and medicine in his hometown of Memphis, TN and obtained a BS in Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee, majoring in Finance.
John and Cindy, his wife of 28 years, are parents to Emily, a University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University alumna and an elementary school teacher in Nashville and Sophie, an Auburn University alumna and graduate student in psychology at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In his free time, John enjoys music, art, reading, sports and trips to the beach.
Below is a personal note from John to SAPC, as well as the smiling face we will be seeing throughout 2020.
In addition to the wonderful news about John joining us in January, we are pleased to welcome Rev. Dr. Lynn Stall as our regular guest preacher for the month of November. Lynn will also be preaching on December 15 and 22, as well as assisting in worship on Christmas Eve.
Lynn is a well-regarded member of New Hope Presbytery, honorably retired in April but busy serving as co-moderator of NHP’s Commission on Ministry. She is a long-time friend of Saint Andrews, having pastored our neighbor church, North Raleigh Presbyterian; and through family ties: she is the sister of our own Shelley Kane; aunt of Maggie who created A Place at the Table, and Lynn’s husband Edward Bruce was a member of Saint Andrews before they met and married.
Lynn earned her Doctor of Ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary and has served churches in Atlanta, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Blowing Rock. We are very blessed to have Lynn join us during the time that we wait for John to arrive and work with Diane and the rest of the staff to ensure SAPC is fully covered over the next two months.
We would like to thank the members of the IPNC for the work that led us to John’s call. The IPNC would like the congregation to know that at the beginning of the process the entire committee asked God to reveal without doubt the candidate that was right to lead SAPC into the future. We believe God has answered that prayer. As background on our search, we were presented with over 30 applications from pastors looking for placements. Most of these candidates lacked the experience in a church our size and with the breadth of programs and staff. We narrowed our search down to seven, critiqued sermons and especially personal statements of faith. We chose four persons to interview, both men and women, and one clearly stood out from the others. After several days of prayer, God unanimously placed our candidate at the forefront. We are united in our belief that John has the necessary experience and spiritual gifts to lead us in transition.
We would like to thank the IPNC for their extra efforts on SAPC’s behalf. Melinda Carr, Mike Brinchek, Elaine Mueller, Stephen Jones and Trenna Perkins.
A Note from John
I am honored and excited to be called as interim pastor at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church. In recent weeks, “informed sources” have told me what a wonderful and vibrant congregation you comprise, what a gifted staff you have and how important SAPC is in your lives. The more I learned about you, the more interested I was in becoming a part of your faith community.
Your Interim Pastor Nominating Committee has also represented you well, and I am deeply grateful for their hospitality and professional courtesy during the search process. They understood the import of their task, and capably navigated the search process to its conclusion.
During this transitional season in the life of Christ’s church on Falls of Neuse Road, we will continue building upon your established strengths…and we’ll have a lot of fun doing it. We’ll also seek to identify and address inherent challenges, even as we anticipate together a future of God’s unfolding in which the person already ordained by God to become your next pastor is identified and called. To those ends, let us all pray for the Holy Spirit to move abundantly over and through Saint Andrews in the coming months.
Cindy and I very much look forward to being with you in January and to becoming residents of the vibrant region known as RDU.
Grace and peace to you always,
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