Dear Church Family,
We have some exciting news! As we shared in our important update on September 23, 2021, our ECO denomination has a process for congregations to retain a highly skilled and experienced “Transitional Pastor” to allow the congregation to have effective leadership while taking time to choose a new lead pastor.
As you know, our congregation has elected an outstanding Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) which is working diligently and has accomplished a great deal. Wishing no compromise in the extensive PNC search efforts, your Session Elders, in working with our ECO denomination and local Presbytery, have moved forward in the process of selecting a Transitional Lead Pastor and Head of Staff.
We are thrilled to share with you that the Rev. Gary Watkins has accepted the call to become our Transitional Lead Pastor and Head of Staff as of November 16, 2021. He will serve our congregation and staff in this next season together until our PNC has finalized their search process for our future Lead Pastor and Head of Staff. The PNC and the Rev. Gary Watkins have communicated with your Session Elders that he will not be considered as a Lead Pastor candidate in their search process.
Your Session Elders and PNC will continue to update the congregation as we move forward into the future together. We invite you to join us in praising the Lord for His faithfulness as he walks alongside our community in this season. We look forward to all that He has in store for St. Andrew’s!
To His glory,
Your Session Elders
Gary and Susan Watkins have been married 41 years. Susan is retired, having served 30 years as a paralegal with firms specializing in personal injury, construction defense, and business litigation for fortune 500 companies. Susan continues as a writer for LA Travel Magazine. Their son, Grayson, is a merchant Marine officer and is married to Vanessa, a neuroscientist and instructor at Stanford. Their daughter, Janna, is mother to their 10-month-old granddaughter, Ember. She and her husband Stephen live in Burbank where Janna works in television production and Stephen manages entertainers.
Gary is currently completing his two-year term as Moderator of the Presbytery of Southern California. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, he began his pastoral ministry at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana as an Assistant Pastor to the Board of Deacons and College Ministry. Later being called as an Associate Pastor at Trinity, he was given responsibility for church growth, membership evangelism, and small groups while continuing as pastoral support to the Board of Deacons. In 1987, he was called as Head of Staff for Christ Pacific Church where he served for 30 years, retiring in December 2017. Gary and Susan see their ministry at CPC as a holy privilege where they were able to share life with the congregation and serve Jesus Christ with them. Gary and Susan have traveled internationally to teach the healing and grace of God’s Spirit through prayer to people.
Gary says, “My passion is for people to experience the goodness, wonder, love and joy of Jesus Christ!” Recovering from a number of orthopedic surgeries, Gary is looking forward to getting back to scuba diving and downhill skiing. He also likes to drive fast cars on the race track from time to time. Together, Susan and Gary love cooking, entertaining, and travel where they can experience new cultures and the beauty of God’s creation.
Gary and Susan say, “We are excited to join the family at St. Andrew’s, a congregation that is so loved by Jesus Christ, and are looking forward to a wonderful season together!”