Two years ago, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church (SPC) began its quest to find a new head pastor to lead the congregation. After conducting numerous surveys and focus groups, and spending hundreds of hours compiling information and interviewing worthy candidates, the Pastor Nominating Committee recommended the Rev. Joyce Shin to the congregation. On Sunday, January 10, SPC officially welcomed Joyce into their pulpit and church life as she preached her first sermon as SPC’s 10th pastor and head of staff.
Catherine Camp, a member of the search committee, says “Joyce honors SPC’s rich worship traditions, while assuring that scripture resonates in a contemporary context. Her caring, relational style will really help engage our spirit of inquiry. We are so grateful she was called to lead SPC.”
Joyce came to SPC from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, the second largest church in the denomination, where she served for nine years as Associate Pastor for Congregational Life. During her tenure, Joyce steadfastly engaged in building interfaith relationships between Fourth Church and local Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist communities. She has also pursued doctoral work in theological ethics; her dissertation is entitled Faith in an Age of Cultural Pluralism: An Aesthetic Approach to Transformation.
Joyce remains curious, seeking wisdom from life. “I believe that the questions we ask in life are precious,” she says. “If mined and honed, they reveal the core of our concerns. I, too, have questions, and I know how important it is to be in a community of fellow inquirers. As pastor of Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, I will seek to foster a community whose faith and wisdom will deepen by the questions we articulate.”
Joining Joyce at SPC are her husband of 16 years, Michael David, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center who specializes in infectious diseases, and daughter, Sophia, who is in the 7th grade. Swarthmore Presbyterian Church is at 727 Harvard Avenue in Swarthmore; the website is swarthmorepres.org.