Since Don Dexter left the Nederland Community presbyterian Church last year, the congregation has welcomed a series of ministers who have led the Sunday services.
Last Sunday, Reverend Dr. Joanne Dobie, who was chosen as the Interim Pastor, preached about letting go of the past and moving forward with God as guide for the congregation.
Dr. Dobie had preached at the Nederland Church several times and she looks forward to being in the mountains although she will commute from Loveland.
Sunday was her first official sermon and members of the congregation were pleased with the down-to-earth delivery.
Dr. Dobie has had a long and varied theological career. Growing up in Davis, California, she says she heard God’s call when she was fourteen years old. But, because women in ministry were fairly new to the church, she felt the only thing she could pursue was in church education.
Joanne graduated from the University of California at Davis, earning a degree in English Literature with a minor in anthropology, history, french and philosophy – quite an eclectic education.
She married after graduation and had two children. Helping her husband pursue a degree in theology, she worked as secretary for the head of the Teacher Education department at UC Berkeley. She eventually entered the Intern program at Berkeley and earned a teaching credential, teaching in a disadvantaged school in Oakland, California.
A short time later, after a divorce, she and her children moved back to Davis, working at the University Financical Aid Office as the Scholarship Coordinator and becoming very involved in the church where she grew up.
Once again she heard the call to ministry. After taking classes part time for two years, she enrolled at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California, working at St. John’s Presbyterian Church as Assistant to the Pastor during her seminary tenure. As a divorced parent she was not sure she would receive a call to a church but was delilghted when she was called to First Presbyterian in Elko, Nv as Assistant Pastor.
After several years she moved to a call as solo pastor in northern California in Kelseyville, Ca. For eleven years she enjoyed the intellectually challenging pastoral and teaching position. As the church had grown and so had she, Joanne was called to be the Associate Executive for Congregational Development in the Sierra Mission Area that oversaw the churches and pastoral and lay leadership of four districts in northern California and Nevada. After ten years, she launched into interim ministry, moving to Colorado to become the Interim Presbytery Executive for the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, a district covering northeastern Colorado and the panhandle of Nebraska. That led to a call to a similar positiion in the Presbytery of Florida (the panhandle area) and then on to 2 1/2 years as Interim Presbytery Executive for western Colorado. She enjoyed the beautiful scenery on her numerous trips between Grand Junction and Durango. During this time she also pursued a doctoral degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
She returned to parish ministry, taking a call to Ft. Morgan, Colorado as Interim Pastor. After that time she retired and journied back to Davis to be with her father until his death in 2009.
Since Dr. Dobie had fallen in love with Colorado, she moved back and now lives in Loveland. After a year of retirement she realized that she still had energy and enthusiasm for ministry and applied for the Interim Pastorate at Nederland. She says that, in addition to regular pastoral and preaching duties at the church, her priority will be helping the congregation in a mission study to determine what God is calling them to do and to be, and helping them move toward the goal of calling a new pastor.
She calls herself a sojourner, helping the church along their path and exploring ministry in new ways. As an Interim, she cannot be called to this pastorate, but says she is here to guide and provide resources and, perhaps some new ideas she has gleaned from observing how many other churches in a variety of situations are being called to relevancy for the 21st century.
She has really appreciated the welcome she has received from the church and looks forward to her time in Nederland that she calls a “gem” of a treasure in the mountains.