Your Introduction to our Pastor Candidate
Introducing the Reverend Katie Estes

Greetings! Your Pastor Nominating Committee is pleased to present the Reverend Katie Estes as our candidate for Pastor. You will have the opportunity to meet Katie on September 19 and 20 and vote to call her after worship on the 20th. Details on how to do that will immediately follow this letter.

We’d like to present a brief history of how we got to this point, give you our thoughts about Katie, and then let Katie tell you about herself and her journey to us in her own words.

How We Got Here
After Pastor Randy’s retirement last year, and after our Transition Team persuaded the Presbytery that we did not need an interim pastor, Session issued a call for volunteers to serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee. Eight members responded: Lisa Olson, Bob Nickel, Tom Schoffelman, Loni McCormick, Nancy Blashka, Ross Early, Amy Wittman, and Bruce Deadman. Bruce was elected Chairperson.

The PNC’s first task was to determine what the congregation was looking for in a new pastor in terms of background, personality, and skills. To accomplish that, we prepared a survey and distributed it to the entire congregation. We were very pleased to receive 109 responses, so we felt very confident that we knew the type of pastor YOU wanted us to look for.

Our next step was to take that information, as well as our own thoughts, and prepare a Ministry Information Form (MIF.) After the MIF was approved by Session and the Presbytery in November, 2019, it was then posted on the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) website for pastors to review.

A pastor interested in us could either submit a Pastor Information Form (PIF) through the website or self-refer directly to us. All told, we received 56 PIFs to review. From January through July, we reviewed all of the PIFS and held some 12 initial telephone or Zoom interviews, selecting 6 candidates for in-person or follow up Zoom meetings. Throughout the process, we were in frequent contact with Leslie Gunter, the Presbytery’s Commission on Ministry Coordinator, whose counsel proved to be invaluable.

But to be honest, by mid-summer we were beginning to get a bit frustrated by our progress, or lack thereof – and then Katie’s PIF arrived!

What We See In Katie
A ministry that is relational and collaborative is how Pastor Katie described in her Pastor Information Form (PIF) the congregation to which she believes God is calling her. “I am passionate about good experiences of faith formation for all ages and stages and would love to lead in a community that embraces intergenerational understanding of worship, education, and service.”

With those words in mind, the PNC began a compelling and energizing dialogue with this experienced, highly personable, and oft-smiling individual who we are unanimously recommending be our next pastor.

While every encounter brought new insights and joyful fellowship, the following quotes and explanations highlight what we came to know and love about Pastor Katie:
My favorite part of worship is sitting on the floor with the kids and engaging them in worship.”
- Quote from Katie during interview process

As a teaching elder, Pastor Katie’s passions are education and worship – for all ages. These are, she says, what “feed” her. Growing up a PK (preacher’s kid) she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a pastor. And after 30+ years of ministry experience, her call remains as strong as ever. She is excited to embark on a new opportunity and create fresh ways for us to achieve our mission of inspiring all to love and serve with Christ.

Another favorite aspect of worship for her is music. “You can’t do worship without music because music is at the heart of worship,” she told us. “We learn our faith by singing our faith and the music that supports it.” To that end, Pastor Katie’s even interested in joining the choir (once we can sing again in worship.)

“Same Seed, Different Dirt”
- Sermon Title, interview worship service

During her interview worship service to the PNC, Pastor Katie preached on the parable of the sower and the seed. Giving us a fresh perspective, she likened the story to experiencing the Word of God. She said that depending on where we are at in our lives, this often determines how we interpret and react to what God is telling us: God’s word is always the same seed; but we are often different dirt. The service was engaging and inspiring, and we all came away impressed with both her message and speaking style. She admitted she loves preaching and is excited that she will be doing it on a weekly basis.

“It’s all about relationships and connections.”
- Quote from Katie during interview process

It was very evident from Pastor Katie’s PIF that people and relationships are important to her. We quickly learned that she views herself as a team player. She’s interested in a staff that works as a team, and with whom she can collaborate and support in mutual ministry. Similarly, she seeks a collaborative relationship with the committees of the church as they are part of the team as well. In the end, it's “all about relationships and connections.” Even with being a co-pastor for the past 20 years, she has done all the duties of a solo pastor as she and her counterpart often rearranged roles during their time working together, so she is confident in her abilities to lead the team.

“People need to catch my energy (for Christian Education) and start with that!”
- Quote from Katie during interview process

Just like engaging with kids on the floor during worship, Pastor Katie has a similar philosophy with Christian Education: “Get on the floor myself and lead the way!” She believes that a successful CE program starts with creating meaningful relationships with people at all levels. “People need to catch my energy and start with that. We need to try new things. And, if we fail, it’s okay because we’ve failed before.” The important thing is to bounce back and try again.
“What is it about your community that breaks God’s heart?”
- Question posed by Pastor Katie

Coming from the Twin Cities and having two bi-racial adopted children, we talked at some length of the murder of George Floyd and the chaos that ensued. Katie believes that the church must recognize its calling to welcome and love all people, and share and live God’s Word. “I seek a community of support for practicing inclusion, believing that God calls us all to get better and better at becoming the new kingdom where all are welcome.”

Matching Leadership Competencies (identified by both our congregation as competencies we desire and Pastor Katie as competencies she possesses)

  • Compassionate
  • Preaching and Worship Leadership
  • Spiritual Maturity
  • Teacher
  • Communicator
  • Advisor
  • Collaborator

The three other competencies she listed that she possesses are: 1) organizational agility, 2) interpersonal engagement, and 3) personal resilience.

Work experience:
  • 2001-2020: Co-pastor, First Presbyterian Church, South Saint Paul, MN*
  • 1998-2001: Associate Pastor, Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, MN*
  • 1997-1998: Capital Stewardship Consultant, Resource Services, Dallas, TX
  • 1993-1997: Co-pastor, North Como Presbyterian Church, Roseville, MN*
  • 1989-1993: Associate Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Tucson, AZ

  • Bachelor of Arts: Macalester College, St. Paul, MN*
  • Master of Divinity: McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL
*Despite all her time spent in Minnesota, both she and her son DeShawn are die-hard Packers fans!

A Few Words From Katie

"I’ve been at home in the church all my life, and I seek to make it a home for everyone else as well. I grew up in the front pew listening to my dad preach, and the church family has always been central to my faith and life. My passions in ministry include preaching and creative worship experiences as well as education and faith formation across the life journey. For the last 20 years I have served as co-pastor of a church in South Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I raised my two amazing children in a great community of faith. My son graduated from high school last spring and is considering what comes next for him, and my daughter has finished two years of college and needs a break in the midst of this pandemic time, so it seems like the perfect time to discover a new community and family of faith. The search for a new call took me from New York to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Ohio, but nothing quite fit right until I was matched by our denomination’s offices with First Presbyterian in Green Bay. I clicked with the committee immediately, and our Zoom conversations always left me energized and excited about what God was doing in this place with these people! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet more of you this weekend, both in person and online, and to listen for what the Spirit is prompting in us all as we consider our journey together. I have already felt warmly welcomed by representatives of Winnebago Presbytery, and would be thrilled to remain within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, where I’ve been an active part of Synod School for many years. While COVID-19 makes so much of our church life together different or challenging, I am certain that God has abundant blessings in store for us still. Let’s discover them together!"

What’s Next?

On September 20, we will be asking the congregation to call Katie as our new pastor and to approve her Terms of Call. A word about the Terms of Call: The major items in the call including salary/housing allowance, insurance and pension, vacation, sick time, study time, and sabbaticals, are either set directly by Presbytery policy or are in line with compensation for other Presbyterian ministers in the area with Katie’s level of experience. In addition, the terms of call provide for reasonable business and continuing education expenses, plus moving expenses. The details of the Terms of Call will be available at the Congregational Meeting.

We are going to extraordinary lengths to give you an opportunity to participate in these exciting events in our church’s history both in person and virtually. PLEASE sign up by following the instructions on the attached “How To” document to follow immediately.

Joyfully yours,

Your PNC: Lisa Olson, Bob Nickel, Tom Schoffelman, Loni McCormick, Nancy Blashka, Ross Early, Amy Wittman, and Bruce Deadman
First Presbyterian Church of Green Bay | (920) 437-8121 | |