We are pleased to share with you that Bishop Deborah Kiesey has appointed two new co-senior pastors, Rev. Gary Haller and Rev. Laurie Haller, to serve our church. This appointment will be effective July 1, 2013.
Revs. Gary and Laurie Haller bring many gifts and graces of ministry to share with our congregation. Both have been in the ministry for over 30 years, and we are incredibly blessed to have two Senior Pastor caliber clergy appointed by the Bishop to lead us. Rev. Laurie Haller, who served as a District Superintendent from 2006 to 2012, comes to us from Aldersgate and Plainfield UMC in the West Michigan Conference. Rev. Gary Haller has been serving for the past 20 years as Senior Pastor of Grand Rapids First UMC. The Revs. Haller served as co-pastors at Grand Rapids First for 13 years prior to Laurie Haller serving as a DS. In their time as co-pastors at Grand Rapids First, The Hallers led the church through a period of substantial growth in its laity, staff, budget and building programs. Grand Rapids First experienced a renaissance in the heart of the City. Both are graduates of Yale Theological Seminary, and Rev. Laurie Haller has degrees in Sacred Music and Organ Performance from Yale and Wittenberg University. Revs. Gary and Laurie Haller bring a wealth of large church pastoral experience and an intense passion for people and spiritual leadership. Both are tremendous preachers, they have the skills necessary to manage and motivate a large staff and congregation, and the vision to inspire First Church in new and dramatic ways to gather, nurture, and equip disciples of Jesus Christ for mission and ministry in the world in the 21st Century.
The Revs. Haller’s first Sunday with us will be July 7th, and we look forward to this new beginning together. In the meantime, Dr. Harnish will continue to serve as our pastor with his last day in the pulpit on June 23. Plans for the celebration of his retirement will be announced in the near future.
We are grateful to God for being with all of us in this time of transition and we trust that God is leading us all into the future.
Staff Parish Relations Committee