New Pastor of Discipleship
Dear UPC Family Member,
I've got great news for you: Rev. Aaron Williams will join us as Pastor of Discipleship this January!
Pastor Aaron is already well-known and loved by many at UPC. He is the original instigator of many new Kindred relationships at Mount Zion Baptist Church and Evangelical Chinese Church. And he has great affection for you.
Pastor Aaron has served as Senior Pastor at Mount Zion for the last nine years. He is a deeply gifted teacher and preacher and has worked with lay leaders across generational and ethnic lines to build effective ministries that forge relationship, invite people to grow in faith, and involve members in ministry (for example, a men's ministry, a marriage ministry, and a mentoring ministry). He's also emerged as a respected leader for reconciliation in our city. He currently serves on the Community Police Commission and as vice president of the United Black Christian Clergy of Washington State.
I've come to admire Pastor Aaron and am honored by our friendship. I love the way he loves Jesus and serves the congregation with humility, creativity, faithfulness to the Scriptures, and endurance even through change and adversity. Whether old or young, when you are with Aaron, you feel his warmth and a contagious hope that is rooted in the good news of Jesus.
At UPC our elders have charted an exciting course for our future! Our vision is: to be a more multiethnic family, growing as disciples across the generations, equipping one another to engage in daily ministry where God has put us, embracing the University of Washington, and sharing hope in Jesus Christ with our neighbors near and far through vibrant 'formissional communities' (communities that integrate relationship, spiritual formation, and mission).
We need God's help and strong leaders to realize this vision, and I am convinced that Pastor Aaron is is the right person to help. More than that, he's eager to do so. As he will tell you, "My heart beats for discipleship."
I want you to know that through this process I have been meeting with leaders from Mount Zion Baptist Church. We have a strong interest in the health and vitality of that congregation. Our Session has adopted them as a sister congregation, and our city needs their unique witness to Jesus. So, as we welcome Pastor Aaron at UPC, we will look for opportunities to strengthen the bonds we have with MZBC members. The reality is, however, that it will likely take as much as two years for them to work through their leadership transition, and they want us to understand that during that time they will naturally be focused on healing and internal unity. They have encouraged us to join with another African-American congregation as a Kindred partner. Here again, Pastor Aaron will be helpful.
I know you will join me in giving Pastor Aaron and his wife Michelle the warmest possible welcome into our UPC family. I can't wait for you to get to know them and to join them in ministry!
Given the public nature of Pastor Aaron's departure from MZBC, UPC will be issuing a press release this week announcing our new hire. I would appreciate it if you refrain from making any statements or postings publicly. Instead, we're asking for all media related inquiries to be directed to Allison Jackson, Director of Communications (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.524.7301).