New Senior Minister –The Table -United Church of Christ of La Mesa
To begin August 12, 2018
We are thrilled to announce approval by the UCC La Mesa congregation to extend the call to Rev. Kelly Ryan. The vote took place April 29, 2018. and was almost unanimous with one abstention.
Pastor Kelly and her husband Jason Guy weathered a weekend of events including a luncheon with church leadership, an ice cream social and activities with the youth and children of our church, and a meet and greet with church members. The service that Pastor Kelly led was poignant, which led to some shedding of tears, including my own.
On behalf of the Pastoral Search Committee, I want to express our immense gratitude to you for your incredible support throughout the process. From your insightful positive criticism of our church profile to your responsiveness to my phone calls day and night, you made a significant contribution to this very positive outcome for UCC La Mesa.
Sincerely, Laura Mathis, Chair
Pastoral Search Committee
About Reverend Kelly Ryan
Call to Ministry
Kelly Ryan grew up attending a Colorado UCC with our own former Minister Norman Broadbent’s nephew, Benjamin, as her pastor. The granddaughter of a Presbyterian minister, Kelly experienced her call to ministry when she was 15 years old. A wave of intense emotion overcame her while she was researching colleges and came across a link to the same seminary her grandfather had attended.
“Since then, I have come to recognize that crashing wave of emotion that prompts tears like that as God’s tug on me. Tears which come not so much from emotion, but this overwhelming sense of God’s presence. It’s a sense I get when I am in the precise right place, when I am in flow with the Divine. I’ve heard that one should pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat, for that is a sign that the Holy is drawing near. So I try to pay attention to those things in my ministry, and so far, I don’t believe it has steered me wrong.”
When asked about what continues to draw her to ministry, Kelly describes the incredible power of faith, love, and the transformation that can occur in relationship with God and one another.
Rev. Ryan is an Ordained Minister with full standing in the United Church of Christ and her current standing is held in the Central Pacific Conference. She holds a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Grinnell College. She is credentialed as an Our Whole Lives Comprehensive Sexuality educator and completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education in hospital and hospice settings.
Awards and Honors
Rev. Ryan is one of 16 pastors under 35 in the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI) class of 2028. NGLI is a leadership development initiative through the UCC Pension Boards that equips, energizes, and empowers younger UCC local church pastors who demonstrate significant potential to build vibrant congregations that change lives and further God’s mission in the world.
In 2013, she was invited to serve as one of the first Emerging Leaders at First Church Berkeley, a program for young adults who demonstrate gifts for ministry to practice congregational leadership, share in worship leadership, and craft special projects.
In 2008, Rev. Kelly was also selected as Fund for Theological Education (Now Forum for Theological Exploration) Undergraduate Fellow.
Pastor, Bethel Congregational Church, White Salmon, WA: Led the congregation through a successful discernment and declaration as an Immigrant Welcoming Church. Increased pledge giving to create a “Community Outreach” fund to support local nonprofits and catalyze new ventures in the wider community. Connected progressive Christian youth in the local area in a “Gorge Youth Collective” which engaged new spiritual practices, summer excursions, and service projects. Built and strengthened relationships between churches and other faith communities, including hosting and curating an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service with multi-faith clergy colleagues to raise money for an emergency assistance fund for local residents. Re-invigorated spiritual formation and justice engagement by engaging the Christian story in new ways.
Young Adult Coordinator, First Church Berkeley, CA: Developed a young adult music engagement program, which both drew new young adults into the church as music participants as well as those who appreciated seeing musicians reflect their tastes and interests. Hosted several well-attended concerts featuring young talent, that drew a very intergenerational audience from both within and outside of the church. Held the first Holy Saturday service at First Church during Holy Week, a contemplative service that used old space in new ways, and began a tradition that attendees found meaningful enough to continue after she left.
Kelly loves hiking, yoga, reading historical fiction, playing guitar and singing, and learning new instruments such as the Cajon drum. She met her husband, Jason Guy, in seminary. He is from Escondido originally, and currently serves as a hospice chaplain in their region. Kelly describes Jason as “a great source of support for me in my ministry.”
What Kelly Ryan’s references say about her…
“Kelly Ryan is a gifted pastor. She has a heart and passion for ministering to others and God works through her. As a result, this small church has a big impact on the community. She listens to congregants and ensures they are participating. Kelly genuinely embodies God’s love to others. She is authentic and transparent in everything. This makes her sermons particularly meaningful and inspiring. She is constantly raising awareness of ways to express faith in action. In the many areas of knowledge needed to manage a church–the property, finances, helping the needy, the bereaved– she succeeds and helps congregants to use their own gifts. Kelly has a wonderful singing voice, a foundation in Biblical understanding, a keen intelligence and a heart filled with compassion. Most important, this is a true calling for her and God has provided her with what she needs to succeed.”
“Kelly has the heart of a pastor. She is deeply faithful, creative, sensitive, warm, energetic, fun loving, self-motivated, sincere, humble, and deeply dedicated. She is always ready to learn – open to both compliments and suggestions for growth. She is intentional in her efforts, always compassionate, and enormously committed to serving God’s people. She is a strong leader and yet never overbearing in her demeanor. Her communication skills will help her authentically and effectively connect across constituencies of any congregation. Kelly’s ability to reach and inspire people of every age to stretch and grow in their own faith is central to her effectiveness as a servant of God. Kelly’s passion for ministry is evident in everything she does. Her theological vision is wide and welcoming. Her expression of that vision is evident in everything that she touches. She is a remarkable pastor!”
“Kelly is warm, creative, and relational in inviting others into ministry with her. One of Kelly’s strengths is her courage in trying bold new ideas and carrying them from vision to action. She is reliable and trustworthy in managing the details of any project. Most importantly, Kelly is a skilled communicator and collaborative leader. She brings people along in her vision and inspires others to join the work. In church revitalization and vitality, Kelly is an exceptional leader.”