Congregational Letter sent on March 26, 2018.

Dear Trinity,


Session shared an important new strategic priority at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, and we want to make sure you know about it.


For almost two years now your Personnel Ministry Team has been exploring a change in our pastoral relationship, from Senior Pastor and Associate Pastor to Co-Pastors.  This idea was introduced to Session last November and they recently decided to make this exploration one of our top priorities in 2018. Trinity is an inter-generational community that seeks to follow Jesus Christ on the San Francisco Peninsula, and your leaders are continually evaluating the best leadership structure to fulfill our calling and to meet the changing priorities of the church.


This change is not being explored because Mary is planning to retire in the foreseeable future or because the church wants to set up a transition plan.  It has grown primarily out of a growing interest in this model and how best to leverage your pastors’ complementary skill sets to meet the needs of the church in the coming years. 


Many good questions are being asked about why we are pursuing this and what it means, so we are including a copy of the FAQ sheet that Personnel and Session have compiled and recently posted on our website.  We expect this to be just the beginning of asking questions and exploring the feasibility of this change.


Any change in pastoral relationship is ultimately in the hands of our Presbytery, and it would require an exception to the rules by a three quarter vote.  Our current exploration, which has included conversations with the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry (COM), would be to decide if the church wants to recommend this exception come fall.


I, Mary, realized early on that Kurt has an exceptional breadth to his gifts and call into pastoral ministry.  Over the past two years, and especially during my sabbatical last year, he has taken on more leadership and excelled in it.  Helping him thrive is helping us all thrive, including me.  And the more we “try on” this co-pastor model, the more convinced and enthusiastic I am about it.


I, Kurt, have been blessed by Mary’s collegiality. One of the things I love about Trinity is our commitment to intergenerational ministry. I see this shift to co-pastor as an expression of us living out intergenerational ministry to its fullest extent, especially to further the healthy working relationship I have with Mary. When Mary went on sabbatical in 2017 I realized I have many gifts for ministry and I want to continue to grow and explore those gifts here in this church that I love serving. The more we talk and experiment with this co-pastor model, the more enthusiastic I am about the present and future trajectory of Trinity.


You are invited to engage in this exploration with us, and Session is recommending the following opportunities to help with that:

  • Town Hall Meeting after worship on Sunday April 15;
  • Great Getaway session on Saturday afternoon May 5;
  • Discussions in small group bible studies and team meetings;
  • One-on-one conversations with any of your leaders on Session and Personnel (listed below).

More opportunities will be added as we move into the summer and fall.


How grateful we are for your partnership in ministry and your openness “to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church.”  We trust that God will guide us together in this discernment and that clarity will come!


Yours in Christ,    


Pastor Mary Graves                                       Pastor Kurt Heineman


Personnel Ministry Team:

Jim Boso                                 Drew Schulz

Marybeth D’Souza                 Katie Wechsler

Mark Gerhardt


Astrid Block                            Kim Nave       

Pat Brown                               Mary Nissen

Jim Gernand                           Kelly Richards

Karen Gernand                       Jerry Richey

Joel Van Hofwegen              Kirsten Halden Vincent

All the above names are hyperlinks to their email addresses, if you'd like to contact one of them just click their names or find the rest of their contact info on the Online Directory.