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The Transition Team

It is the pleasure of Church Council and Pastor Greg to announce the transition team for Westhampton UCC.

 

The team is Jake Antosz, Priscilla “Pat” Miller, Mikki Nevins, Shannon Raymond, and Ruth Tracy.

You can read their mini biographies below.


As a reminder, the church has chosen to use a different process in this interim time than has been used in the past. The new process is to first establish a Transition Team to provide leadership and focus for the entire transition time. This is a wider focus than just searching for a new pastor. The interim time is an opportunity for a community of faith to take an intentional time out to seek spiritual and organizational renewal, to rediscover its identity, and to revitalize its mission. Then will it be prepared to know what type of pastor the church seeks for the future.


The Transition Team facilitates the work of the congregation and will have the necessary institutional and community knowledge to do this work effectively, as well as gain skills in active listening and appreciative inquiry. The transition team itself functions as a mini-laboratory for the transitions the community of faith will undergo. It explores the culture and dynamics of the community of faith, with all its strengths and struggles. As the team analyzes what holds the community of faith back from its potential, those very issues may become apparent in its own discussions. By intentionally building a cooperative climate, the team learns to change old patterns and try new things. Then it can help the governing body, committees, and community of faith to do the same.

 

The success of the team will lie in its ability to recognize issues that are impeding the community of faith’s life, deal with them in its own functioning, and then lead the community of faith to recognize and address those patterns of behavior and take appropriate actions to change them.


In the coming months, please include the Transition Team in your prayers as they begin their work.

Jake Antosz
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Jake Antosz

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies or another fun fact about you?

Some of my hobbies are golf and rock climbing.

What are some of the skills and strengths you bring to the Transition Team?     

I pay attention to detail and look at the big picture in relation to today’s times.

When did you start attending Westhampton UCC? How long after you started attending did you join?

I started attending Westhampton UCC when  I was little, probably around four years old.


 

How have you been involved at church?  Other churches?

I was part of the church school and Christmas pageants and now help with the youth group

What’s the biggest gift or strength of this church?

The family feel of the congregation

What’s the biggest challenge facing this church?

Getting young families to attend.

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Pat Miller

Priscilla “Pat” Miller

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies or another fun fact about you?     

 

I love living in Westhampton! One of my biggest joys is any event that involves our family – our three children and their spouses and our 6 grandchildren. During my life I loved my career in education and teaching in the elementary school here in Westhampton and directing a center at Westfield State University.  Over the years I have enjoyed many crafts and hobbies: sewing, quilting, card making and many others.

What are some of the skills and strengths you bring to the Transition Team?                               

I genuinely like people and enjoy working with folks.  I try to be a good listener (still working on it!).  I have years of history with the church and feel that is something that I bring to the committee. I also care deeply about our church and am interested in finding ways for it to be a vibrant and enthusiastic congregation.

When did you start attending Westhampton UCC? How long after you started attending did you join?  

 

I have been a part of this church for my whole life and I joined in 1958 as a teenager.

How have you been involved at church?  Other churches? 

 

I have been involved with this church for 77 years and during that time have been involved in many parts.  I was an active Sunday School member and was an active officer for four years in PF – our teenage youth group.  I was married in this church and then became an active member of the Women’s Fellowship and have held many different leadership positions in that organization.  And as that has been one of the active groups in the church I have been involved in many projects, fund raisers, and social events.  I have been a Sunday School teacher for MANY years and was also the Church School Superintendent a couple of different times.  I have served on the Missions Committee, the Property Committee (that wasn’t the name then!), a member of the CE Committee for several terms and I’m sure several others that I can’t remember.

What’s the biggest gift or strength of this church?

 

I think this sometimes changes with the years and times ~  One of the main strengths I have seen over the years is the caring of people in the community, especially in their time of need, be it hard times, a fire or other catastrophe of just a meal and a listening ear. I think the church also has been a ‘building’ that is open to the needs of the community, whether for meetings or events, a kitchen, and of course a place for worship open to all. They strive to show love to all!

What’s the biggest challenge facing this church? 

 

Active members who are seen and heard from frequently.  The ways we can be seen as a place where folks want to be and be a part of!

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Mikki Nevins
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Michele “Mikki” Nevins

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies or another fun fact about you?

Married for 44 years, 3 kids, 7 grandkids. Westhampton Resident since 1981. I love reading, word games, and pickleball.

What are some of the skills and strengths you bring to the Transition Team?  

   

One of my strengths is my sense of humor. I also can listen to and respect different opinions.

When did you start attending Westhampton UCC? How long after you started attending did you join?

1984, and I joined March 1, 1987

How have you been involved at church?  Other churches?

Taught Sunday school, served as a Deacon and chaired that committee, church secretary, Holiday House Fair, flowers for sick and shut-ins, stewardship, nominating, currently on Widening Our Welcome (WOW) and the scholarship committee

What’s the biggest gift or strength of this church?

It’s sense of community and family. It’s a very welcoming church. I love that we are Open and Affirming.

What’s the biggest challenge facing this church?

Same as many other churches – dwindling older membership and lack of families with young children.

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Shannon Raymond
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Shannon Raymond

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies or another fun fact about you?

My priority hobbies include: biking, swimming, skiing, and painting. For work, I'm a civil engineer with a concentration in geotechnical engineering. I work at O'Reilly, Talbot & Okun Engineering Associates. I have been working in my field for nearly 5 years

What are some of the skills and strengths you bring to the Transition Team?  

   

I don’t know that yet

When did you start attending Westhampton UCC? How long after you started attending did you join?

I started attending the church when I was a baby, and have always attended and participated in church affairs

How have you been involved at church?  Other churches?

I’ve not attended other churches, but I have attended a couple of services of other religions during my confirmation program

What’s the biggest gift or strength of this church?

The biggest strength of this church is its people

What’s the biggest challenge facing this church?

Keeping momentum and attention during periods of change or growth

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Ruth Tracy
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Ruth Tracy

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies or another fun fact about you?

My name is Ruth (he/him), and I’m a life-long resident of Westhampton.  I studied film, comics, and media studies at Sarah Lawrence College.  In my free time I love collecting VHS tapes, volunteering at the library, and drawing my original characters. 

When did you start attending Westhampton UCC? How long after you started attending did you join?

I started attending Westhampton UCC as a baby with my family, and officially joined when I was confirmed as a teenager. 


 

How have you been involved at church?  Other churches?

Since I grew up in the church, I’ve been participating in our events and traditions my whole life.  From junior choir to the Harvest Supper; caroling at Christmas to the variety show.  I’m an usher, and am often also a reader during services. 

What’s the biggest gift or strength of this church?

Westhampton UCC has existed for many years, and has built a solid, supportive community.  Familiar faces and traditions make the church a place where I go for a calming break from the trials and tribulations of modern life.

What’s the biggest challenge facing this church?

Like many other institutions across the world, Westhampton UCC is currently working through a shift in people’s relationship to organized religion.  It’s hard to change in any context, and finding what sorts of changes would benefit the church—and the larger community—will be a difficult, but important, ongoing conversation. 

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