PEKIN FIRST A United Methodist Faith Community

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JIM MCCLAREY DIRECTING PASTOR Jim McClarey is the Directing Pastor here at Pekin First. Jim has a hunger for churches to let go of spending time and effort on "fringe" issues and focus more on heavier things such as obedience to God, courage to radiate faith outward, serving others instead of seeking self-comfort, etc. Pastor McClarey feels passionate that we must invest in learning how to speak the language of emerging generations so that we can continue to share the incredible love of God through Jesus in ways which reach people who do not yet know of forgiveness, true life here, and eternal life later. Jim recognizes spiritual malaise as a challenge within the faith. He feels that an attitude of "We are fine where we're at" is a death sentence to vitality and Holy Spirit movement within the church. Jim leads in such a way that strives to teach new ways of thinking that promote the flow of grace. Pastor Jim is a ton of fun to be around, enjoys fellowship, activity, and is very sincere about his faith in Christ. He takes pride in being extremely non-judgmental because of a strong belief that when the love of Christ is in us, it kicks out judgmentalism. Contact Pastor Jim McClarey @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155
HEATHER ROBERTSON ASSOCIATE PASTOR Heather Robertson is the Associate Pastor here at Pekin First. She also serves as the appointed Directing Pastor at Green Valley First UMC. Heather specializes in the design of adult faith formation opportunities while also being heavily vested in providing excellent pastoral care to our congregation. Heather provides pastoral leadership for our CONNECT ministry as well. Pastor Heather is passionate about serving God wherever called, sharing the good news of grace offered through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, sharing in the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, helping others to know they have a place at the table of Jesus NO MATTER WHAT, studying the bible and helping others to experience the life giving power of living a life grounded in God’s word. Pekin has so much opportunity to serve right now. There is so much need which is being filled by drugs, alcohol, shopping and anything else which temporarily offers a fix to the pain and desperation of life. Finding a way to connect others to God and the only power that actually satisfies is Pastor Heather's driving force. There are no easy, simple answers which get from point A to point B. If there were we would all have the fun job of finding something else to passionately pursue. Hearing the community out and responding is huge to Heather and she believes the church in general has a history of trying to provide what they think the world needs. She believes there has to be a balance where we also listen and find a way. Jesus asked so many questions and Heather thinks we need to follow His lead. Contact Pastor Heather Robertson @: (309)-347-3155
ERIC WRIGLEY DIRECTOR OF CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP ARTS Eric Wrigley is the Director of Worship Arts at Pekin First. He is 23 years old and is honored to be able to serve God in this capacity. He has a passion for leading people in worship and designing worship structures and elements that are Christ-centered and engaging. Eric takes joy in serving in various other capacities at Pekin First as well. Eric enjoys grappling with the challenge of millennial engagement in today’s circles of fellowship. He feels called to help provide opportunities to connect his own generation with the life changing grace that Christ offers. Today’s young adults are largely missing from churches and our society reflects that. Eric hopes to be able to use his gifts for God’s glory and purpose in order to reach his peers that are absent from the church today. He aims to lead in such a way that is empowering to others to use their gifts and talents to promote the spread of Christ’s life-changing grace to as many people as possible. Aside from his work at Pekin First, Eric is a business owner, fisherman, athlete and semi-professional musician. You can find him playing drums, guitar, bass, or keys in and around Peoria, IL with several different groups almost every weekend. Eric enjoys spiritual engagement through excellent fellowship opportunities. Eric is devoted to seeking God’s direction on his ministry and is excited to see how technology and media will play a part in tomorrow’s local church. Contact Eric Wrigley @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155
MICHAEL BERG DIRECTOR OF YOUTH MINISTRIES Michael Berg is the Director of Youth Ministries at Pekin First. He takes joy in serving in this role and helping 5th - 12th grade students to navigate the pivotal middle and high school years of their lives. Michael designs activities ranging from dodgeball tournaments to week-long mission trips all with the common purpose of drawing our youth deeper into who God is and who they are in relation to Him. Since truly coming to know who Jesus Christ is during his later high school years, Michael has structured his life to make disciples of Jesus Christ as commanded in Matthew 28:19, and his position at Pekin First is one avenue he feels called to do so. Michael's hope is to help youth walk through the years of life when they are establishing their identity. As the world tells them loudly and aggressively to live a life far from Christ, Michael is passionate about helping youth come to know God, choose to dig their roots firmly into Jesus Christ, and establish a meaningful prayer life as they move beyond their high school years. Middle schoolers and high schoolers today face unprecedented pressures from the world around them to be or act a certain way. With cell phones in their pockets constantly bombarding them with ideas about who they should be and what they should believe, Michael feels called to help youth understand that what they choose to do and believe matters deeply to God. A challenge of the faith in today's world is the lie that what you say, do, watch, or consume does not matter all that much as long as you "believe in God." Michael feels Pekin First is called to help youth and people realize that what we do with our time matters deeply and is shaping us constantly into either more or less of the image of Christ. Contact Michael Berg @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155
KARA BUSHONG DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S MINISTRIES Kara Bushong is the Director of Children's Ministries at Pekin First. She specializes in the coordination of discipleship programming for K-4th grade students. Kara is passionate about helping to lay the foundations of faith through excellent study, activities and special events that are geared toward our young people. God is present in everything that we do and everywhere we are and this is something the Kara feels called to lead our children toward. Teaching students that God is not just something that we encounter on Sunday mornings or at the church is a goal of hers and something she strives to instill in the children she works with. Kara is a blessed mother of two children and hopes that she can give her own kids and those that she spends time with at church the understanding that life with Christ is the only sure way to live a mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy life. Kara looks forward to meeting our young ones and leading them in such a way that leads to Life. Contact Kara Bushong @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155
GINA BOOTH DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS Gina Booth is the Director of Communications at Pekin First. She is responsible for the communication networks of the church, both internally and externally. Gina advertises the various events that happen throughout the church using Facebook, videos, pictures and sometimes in the local newspaper. She is also responsible for designing various forms of worship media. Gina is excited about the ways that Pekin First is reaching the community of Pekin and is passionate about promoting the events and activities that aid in leading people to Christ. Contact Gina @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155
CATHY DUFFY DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS Cathy Duffy is the Business Manager at Pekin First. As the Business Manager she handles the day-to-day accounting needs for Pekin First, including the outgoing money for accounts payable and payroll. Cathy helps to create the annual budget and communicate our monthly financial status measured against the budget, previous years’ experience, and future visions. Working alongside the Trustees she aids in the upkeep of the facilities, and it is her privilege to communicate the financial health of the church to staff, committees, and the Administrative Board. Cathy is passionate about using her skills of financial management to further the mission of Christ. She feels called to empower church leaders with the gifts that God has provided. There is much more to Cathy than just spreadsheets and numbers and she is confident that Pekin First is a safe place where people can come and be accepted just as they are, individuals can ask the hard questions, and all can be energized for whatever life might throw at them. Contact Cathy @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155
KATHY SIMPSON ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT / FINANCIAL SECRETARY Kathy Simpson is the Administrative Assistant and Financial Secretary here at Pekin First. She is the person who answers the phone and welcomes those who come to the church throughout the week. Kathy maintains the master church calendar and membership records, as well as assists our membership, staff members, and others with a variety of needs. As the financial secretary her duties include recording all financial gifts to the church, giving an accounting of the same to the Finance Committee, and maintaining the congregation's personal giving records. Kathy is the administrator of Pekin First's Good Samaritan ministry and is passionate about being a source of light to those who are in need. Sharing grace with individuals on a daily basis is something she truly enjoys about her involvement at Pekin First. Contact Kathy @: Email: Phone: (309)-347-3155

Pekin First United Methodist Church, Pekin, IL 61554