Peace Presbyterian Church recently appointed a new interim pastor, the Rev. Zach Wilson.
The 170-member congregation was chartered in 1958 and grew rapidly in the ‘60s and ‘70s before seeing a decline in membership in the ‘90s and 2000s, Wilson said. Stan Martin, Peace Presbyterian’s most recent pastor, left in June after seven years.
“The membership is aging and getting smaller mainly due to people being unable to be as active and dying,” Wilson said, emphasizing that his goal will be to preach “how to be faithful, how to be vital in the midst of that.”
Wilson grew up on an apple orchard in Yakima, Wash., taking long-term mission trips to Kenya and Peru. After college in Illinois and seminary in Princeton, he specialized in “transitional ministry” and has served as an interim minister at First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater and First Presbyterian Church of Hayfield.
Wilson described Peace Presbyterian as committed to community and peace and justice work, such as the knitting of more than 5,000 quilts for local homeless over the last 15 years.
He said his goal is to “help the church become a community of faith that is able and willing to take risks without freaking out,” to focus on the church’s mission instead of dwelling on self-preservation.“The worst thing that can happen is not an organization ceasing to be, the worst thing that can happen is an organization being unfaithful to its mission,” he said. “After some years it becomes more about keeping the thing going rather than doing the important stuff.”