Hinesville First Presbyterian Church has a new leader. Pastor Kathi Parchem arrived in November and took over as the church’s interim pastor.
She is from Marietta and was ordained into the ministry in 1985. Before coming to Hinesville, Parchem was interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Statesboro for two years. She also served as pastor at Swainsboro Presbyterian Church in Swainsboro for three years, and as interim pastor at Calvary Presbyterian in Marietta. She has been a chaplain with the Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, which is part of Continuing Care Community.
"I will be the interim pastor until the church calls a permanent pastor," Parchem said. "As an interim pastor, I help the church redefine goals for the future and get her ready for the next permanent pastor.
"I am excited about Jesus and want everybody to know how wonderful it is to know Him. He can make a way when it seems as if there is no way," she said. "The people at Hinesville First Presbyterian Church have a deep love for Jesus. They take Bible study seriously and apply it to their lives."
Parchem said her goals for the church include making it a safe place for people to grow spiritually. She wants to make it a place of Bible-centered preaching and teaching. "I want to help the church understand it is the body of Christ and as the body of Christ, we welcome everyone," she said.
Hinesville First Presbyterian Church members are involved in the community. Some of the programs the church supports include Helen Haven, Gabriel House, Tri-County Protective Agency, Midway Presbyterian Food Bank and the church’s Christian Academy.
"The First Presbyterian Christian Academy was built in 1975. Last year, our new building on East Court Street held its first senior graduating class. The church also has a Daniel program aimed at middle school-age children so they can continue in the faith," Parchem said. "We also support Boy Scouts 410 and the Cub Scouts."
Parchem has experience in nonprofit development. She helped create Village Atlanta, the first transitional program for homeless women with children. She worked with Project Read and Development of Georgia and the CASA program. She has done missionary work in Ometepec, Mexico.
Parchem thinks of the Rev. Mary Baine Rudolph and Betty Taylor as her spiritual mentors. "Rudolph was the director of Christian education and she encouraged me as a woman to go into the ordained ministry. ... Taylor was an Appalachian woman who started the Cabbage Town Soup Kitchen by faith in Atlanta. She only had a ninth-grade education and was the mother of 10, but God told her to feed the sheep," Parchem said.
The interim pastor’s advice to pastors and ministers is to trust God completely, acknowledge Him and allow Him to direct their paths.
Pastor Parchem and her husband Alan live in Hinesville with their two children. Alan Parchem is an independent contractor with SAP, a computer consulting firm. Kathi Parchem enjoys reading and swimming.
Anderson is the author of "Lack of Knowledge" and "Dare to Soar."