Last month the congregation of Rye Presbyterian Church made it official: Reverend Dan Love and Reverend John Miller will become co-pastors beginning November 1.
Last month the congregation of Rye Presbyterian Church made it official: Reverend Dan Love and Reverend John Miller will become co-pastors beginning November 1. When the announcement was made during a Sunday morning service, there was a standing ovation.
“It’s not your typical arrangement and it is new for Rye Presbyterian,” said the two reverends at a recent interview, “but there is co-pastoring precedent.”
Before beginning its search, the church went through an “exhaustive self-evaluation to identify how it could best live out its divine calling and what qualities and credentials in a new pastor would lead to that end.”
While many had long hoped that Rev. Love, Associate Pastor at the church for the last 16 years, would want the senior pastor position, he kindly declined many times.
When Senior Pastor Nan Devries was departing the post, Rev. Miller, pastor of Hitchcock Presbyterian in Scarsdale and an administrative leader in the Hudson River Presbytery, was called in.
What Rev. Miller observed was a congregation at a difficult time, under distress. “But I also saw leadership, integrity, and members acting in Christian ways. Not all congregations behave well under these circumstances.”
Before too long, he and Rev. Love became fast friends.
“It came to me in a dream that Dan and I would pastor together,” said Rev. Miller.
The pair began a forthright discernment process. They started doing their homework.
Meanwhile, the search committee was conducting a comprehensive nationwide search, which identified over 200 qualified candidates. But in March, when Miller and Love went to the committee with their proposal, the group listened carefully and the more it listened the more it recognized what a good conclusion this would be to the exhaustive and truly open ten-month process.
“I think it changes people’s expectations,” said Rev. Love.
The congregation has already spiritually embraced the change.
They will heartily thank interim senior pastor Eric Sprinstead for his work and support at a farewell occasion October 13. And then the bells at Rye Presbyterian will really peal.