What's next for Valley Presbyterian Church?

With departure of pastors church starts year of transition with "catalyst" speakers

When Mark and Cheryl Goodman-Morris announced their retirement plans four years ago, they also put into place a plan to assure the Valley Presbyterian Church would go on smoothly without them.

They began with a capital campaign to pay for church improvements and repairs. The funds also allowed the church to purchase the Goodman-Morrises' share of the residence they co-owned with the church.

In January, a transition team of Mary Jo Alderson, Carla Christensen and Bruce Reyes-Chow took over, running the church while the Goodman-Morrises continued to preach.

In April, the next phase will begin as the church hosts a year-long series of what they are calling "catalyst speakers" who they hope will help the congregation plan its future. The speakers will live in the Goodman-Morrises former home, across the street from the church, for two-week to month-long stints.

Ms. Alderson said the church is following the lead of Mr. Goodman-Morris to take a "spirit-led journey." "He trusts that there is something more waiting for us," she said. "We as the church congregation have learned to trust that, too."

The April speaker will be the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow. An author and webcast host, he founded Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco, and in 2008 was the youngest person ever elected moderator of the Presbyterian church's general assembly, the highest elected office of the denomination.

Diana Butler Bass, who has written extensively on the "emerging church" will be the resident guest speaker in October.

In January 2017, John Philip Newell will come to the church. The Church of Scotland minister is considered an expert on Celtic spirituality. He served as the church warden on the Scottish island of Iona, where many visit each year to learn about the Protestant roots of Christianity.

The church'swebsite has more information about the church's transition process and speakers.

Cover story: Pastors Mark and Cheryl Goodman-Morris leave Valley Presbyterian Church.

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