Changes happening at the Community Church

  • Fri Jul 28th, 2017 1:30am
  • News

The following was submitted by Orcas Island Community Church.

Despite recent health setbacks for Pastor Dick Staub, great things are happening at the community church! For 133 years the mission of Orcas Island Community Church has been to pursue God in the company of friends for the benefit of the world. A true reflection of the community’s diversity, people of all ages from over 40 denominations actively attend services. There they find a full-service church with Pioneer Clubs for kids, Camp Chelan and weekly gatherings for teens, and numerous programs to serve adults.

In 2007 the elders called Dick Staub as Sr. Pastor with a mandate to find ways to expand the church’s outreach to the community, while continuing to grow a vibrant local church. Staub led efforts to offer the Orcas Island Food Bank a $1 per year lease, allowing them to place a new building on church property. Staub then worked with the Orcas Island Community Foundation to raise money for the new building, from which the food bank actively serves the community today. OICC collaborated with other island churches to prepare and host a weekly food bank lunch and to open a severe weather shelter that serves homeless islanders on especially cold nights. With funding provided by the community foundation, OICC member Rita Bailey arranged to partner with Medical Teams International (MTI) to bring their state of the art van to Orcas Island four times each year to serve islanders with dental needs, and OICC opened it’s facilities to assist the program.

In 2008 Staub launched KindlingsFest a summer faith, arts, and ideas festival that attracts national and international registrants each year. That program continues today under a new name SummerFest. He also introduced a popular annual Celtic Christmas concert. As a way of serving the community OICC facilities have been opened up for community lectures and meetings and an active community services ministry team continues to identify ways to better serve unmet needs on Orcas Island. Around 10 percent of our island’s population participates in some program sponsored by or held at the community church each week. To assure space for future expansionary needs, in 2016 the church purchased property adjacent to the church from Fred and Peggy Nichol.

Changing needs on the island mean changing programs at the church, and those changes result in staffing so the church can better meet those needs. In June 2015, Kelly Carpenter joined OICC staff as part-time Children’s Pastor. In January 2017 OICC called a new pastor to youth and young adults, T.J. Meany. In May 2017, after completing his master’s degree in narrative therapy, longtime islander Ryan Carpenter was called as full-time pastor of administration and caring.

Finally, as part of a planned leadership transition, in March 2017 Tony Ghazel, Chairman of the elders, announced that after two years as Associate Pastor for Congregational Life, Rev. Brian Moss would become Sr. Pastor of Orcas Island Community Church effective July 1, 2017. His official installation service as the 36th Sr. pastor in the church’s 133- year history took place on Sunday, July 16.

Moss brings a wealth of pastoral experience, having served for five years as Associate Pastor at Maple Valley Presbyterian Church. Prior to that, Moss served as Director of Worship, Music, and the Arts at John Knox Presbyterian Church and as Worship and as Music Coordinator for Regent College in Vancouver, B.C., where he completed a Master of Divinity degree in 2011. He has a long-time connection with Orcas Island, having performed regularly at the Woodsong Music Festival. Brian and his wife Stephanie have five children: Haley, Levi, Ethan, Isaac, and Ezra. Stephanie is a life-long dancer, with experience at the Nashville Ballet and as founder of Momentum, a dance program for children and teens in the Seattle area. Moss has released several CDs, including his current project involving writing new songs inspired by the psalms. Brian is passionate about the visual arts and their connection to the life of the church. He is a former board member of CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) and recently joined the board of OIMAG (Orcas Island Music Advocacy Group).

The timing of this pastoral transition came sooner then expected due to serious health challenges Pastor Dick Staub faced this past year. In addition to a rapid advance of his heart disease, Staub was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition called spinocerebellar ataxia, which affects balance and gait. The condition was identified after Staub experienced a serious fall and severe brain trauma, which caused mild cognitive impairment, affecting his ability to concentrate and focus. OICC has asked Staub to stay on as a preaching pastor, mentor to Brian, and roving goodwill ambassador in the church and on the island. Staub and Brian have been friends for 20 years and are excited about this opportunity to serve together. Pastor Staub will officially retire in April 2018.

To learn more about the community church, visit online or visit a worship service at 9:30 a.m. on any Sunday.