The Rev. Barbara Schenk has been named the new pastoral visitor for the Western Region, making her the Conference's third pastoral visitor.
Schenk will work closely and collaboratively with Associate Conference Ministers Jill Graham and Peter Wells to provide visitation and consultation with local pastors in the region. Between September and June, she will conduct 4 to 5 visits per month with local church pastors in the Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Associations.
Schenk has been the pastor of Foster Memorial Church in Springfield since September, 2008. Currently, she serves on the Hampden Association's Church and Ministry Committee and the Board of the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield. She is also involved in the Springfield Community Together Long Term Recovery Group for Tornado Relief and Co-Chairs this year's local CROP Walk for Hunger.
Schenk grew up in the Midwest and in Wilbraham, MA. She has a Bachelors' Degree in Music Education from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In the past she worked as a music teacher and preschool teacher/administrator. She graduated from Bangor Theological Seminary in 1988, and has served churches in New York, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts
Schenk lives in Springfield with her husband, Keith. Her interests include music and singing, volunteering with elementary school children and spending time with family. She can be reached at 413 301-8874 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Conference's Pastoral Visitor program began several years ago, when the Rev. Paul Clayton began working with Associate Conference Minister Dale Hempen in the Southeast Region. Since then, the Rev. Fred Anderson came on as the Central region's pastoral visitor, working with Peter Wells.
"Pastoral visitors multiply our efforts," Hempen said. "We have these experienced pastors who come in with a fresh pair of eyes, and make calls. It’s a real benefit to the whole church. I'm delighted to see the concept expanded to other regions of the Conference."
Over the last several years, the number of full-time regionally assigned Associate Conference Ministers has been reduced, creating a need for the pastoral visitors, who are paid a small stipend and reimbursed for mileage.