Meet The Pastors

Meet The Pastors

DonigiansPastors Douglas and Joyce Donigian have been co-pastors at First Church since January 2009. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Their Educational and Career Background:

Both had satisfying careers previously; however, they experienced the need and the excitement of “reinventing” themselves for the future. Doug began with a doctorate in theoretical chemistry, did medical research, and then obtained an MBA and managed research for two manufacturing companies. Joyce began as an instructional assistant helping students ranging from kindergarten through high school. After their children were grown, she returned to college and earned a BA in cognitive science and an MA in social relations. She then worked as a consultant doing statistical analysis of educational programs.

Their Pastoral Calling:

Both Doug and Joyce felt called to deeper and more dedicated work for God and for the church and, because of this call, they resigned from their positions and fulfilled the requirements for Master of Divinity degrees from Moravian Theological Seminary in 2008.

“We have found working together as co-pastors fulfilling, empowering, and fun. Although we serve together, we have developed different areas of responsibility. This way, we each can use our strengths and follow our callings.”

Joyce designs regular and special worship services and works closely with the Christian education director. She has begun worship traditions during Advent and Holy Week. She also participates in leadership development and the prayer shawl ministry. “I believe that a primary role for church is to enable people to put their faith into active practice. We have so many blessings. How can we best serve God by spreading blessings to others?”

Doug focuses on program development, community service, and growth strategy. He has organized a monthly community meal and also encouraged committees to take on transformative goals. “One of Jesus’ instructions to his followers was to be recognizable by their love for one another. Part of love is directed outward, taking on tasks to help those in need and working joyfully together with common purpose. Another part is directed inward, enabling each person to find their own means of experiencing and expressing God’s love.”

The pastors do some things together, for example, weddings, funerals, visitation, retreats, and confirmation. Their joint participation brings a broader perspective and a unique aspect to each event. Both affirm and teach the saving power of Jesus Christ, the active role of the Holy Spirit, and God’s grace in inviting us into relationship. Both are passionate about bringing people into the knowledge of, belief in, faith in, and obedience to the will of God.