The news broke today that the Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler has been called to serve as the Senior Pastor/Head of Staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, Pa. The world knows Marnie as the Executive Pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church. I know her as my dearest friend in ministry since our days together at Princeton Seminary.
Here’s the post on First Bethlehem’s web page:
It is with incredible joy that the Interim Pastor Search Committee (IPSC) announces the issuance of a call to the Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler to be First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem’s next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff. At the recommendation of the Lehigh Presbytery Committee on Ministry, Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler comes to Bethlehem as a Designated Senior Pastor/Head of Staff which provides for up to a 3-year term, and at any time before the conclusion of that term, FPCB’s congregation may vote to keep Rev. Dr. Crumpler as our permanent Senior Pastor/Head of Staff. As our Designated Senior Pastor/Head of Staff candidate, Marnie will preach on April 9 and 10, 2016 at all five worship services.
In addition, we are thrilled to also announce the issuance of a call to Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler as a Designated Associate Pastor for Worship and Formation. Mark will work with Rev. Jeff Gissing to grow our adult education programs and discipleship area as well as provide much-needed support to our existing pastoral team in the areas of preaching, liturgy, and offering care to our congregation. As our Designated Associate Pastor candidate, Mark will preach on May 7 and 8, 2016 at all five worship services.
After receiving the unanimously approved FPCB Session recommendation, and after two separate interviews and many weeks of work, the Lehigh Presbytery Committee on Ministry approved both Marnie and Mark for the above described designated 3-year term allowing the FPCB congregation to vote at any time up to three years to keep both candidates as permanent pastors.
Marnie and Mark come to FPCB from Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA where they served as Executive Pastor and Associate Pastor respectively for the past 14 years. CLICK HERE to see the brochure for more information about their education, experience, family, and faith.
As we have updated you many times, over the past nine months, our team nationwide search received over 60 applications for our open Interim Senior Pastor position. Given the size and complexity of our great church, we found it incredibly difficult to find an Interim Senior Pastor who had the experience and skills necessary to lead FPCB, and then God presented us with the Crumplers. Our team completely fell in love with Marnie and Mark—both incredibly experienced, talented pastors from the largest church in our denomination.
“What a ‘ride’ God allowed all of us to go on with Him. We could not have orchestrated this whole scenario in our minds, even if we collectively brainstormed a way to find a Pastor. This whole experience will be a season in my life I will never forget. “To God Be the Glory. Great Things He Hath Done.” —Elder Beth Bloss
The IPSC visited Peachtree to hear Marnie preach and get to know both Marnie and Mark. The Crumpler family visited Bethlehem multiple times including having Marnie serve as guest pastor at FPCB in November. The search process has been long, but ample time was needed to cultivate a relationship with the Crumplers to ensure Marnie and Mark are the right fit for FPCB, and for the entire Crumpler family, including their two teenage children, to discern God’s call to Bethlehem.
Below are excerpts of the IPSC members’ comments about Marnie and Mark as we issued the call. They illustrate why we unanimously agreed on Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler as our Designated Senior Pastor/Head of Staff, and Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler as Designated Associate Pastor for Worship and Formation and call them both with great enthusiasm, joy, and anticipation of a bright future for our beloved church.
“At first meeting, it is immediately apparent that Marnie serves the Lord with tremendous joy and has an enthusiasm to make followers of Jesus that is contagious. She is gifted to lead people, has passion for the Word, is an excellent preacher, and has a proven skill set in leading a large church by unlocking the talents of others in her midst. Mark is a deep pool of thought and intellect, choosing his words deliberately both in his speaking and writing. His gifts for education, instruction, preaching, and his ability to draw out profound meaning as he reflects on God’s word for our lives is apparent and a gift he loves to share. Together they are wonderful compliments to each other as partners in ministry, leaders of Team Crumpler, and are an excellent example of how to balance full time ministry with family and community. We are blessed to have them join us at FPCB!” —Elder Michael Baittinger
“Marnie is an inspiring preacher, effective leader, and a dynamic personality. We find her to be such a great communicator and are very thankful for the vast large-church experience she will bring to Bethlehem. We are so fortunate that God found someone who is a great fit for FPCB, especially during this season at our church. Mark is a thoughtful deep thinker and insightful writer. We loved that both Mark and Marnie are so family-oriented. We found Mark to be a clear team player and talented administrator.” —Elder Cabot Thomas
Recognizing that First Bethlehem’s gain is Peachtree’s loss, I rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Transitions in ministry are always a mix of called to and called from. As Mark and Marnie leave voids in the life and ministry of Peachtree they create space for others whom God will now call to serve that magnificent congregation. Our prayers of confident joy go out to them all.