Associate & Interim Pastors
Bart Smith’s tenure with as RCPC was as Transitional Associate Pastor and lasted from September 2013 to February 2015 and was a part of the Pastoral Transition post departure of the Rev. Tupper Garden.
The following are summary highlights Bart’s Ministry and time at RCPC gained via a telephonic interview on May 15th, 2019.
Bart Smith was contacted initially via email with the explanation that we were summarizing the History of RCPC from 1990 to the present. He was asked if he would share some of what he thought were the highlights of his time at RCPC.
Bart initially came onboard in a role that was not well defined. His role evolved into the Transitional Associate working with the fine staff. He also, mentioned he worked closely with Anne Travers and the youth during his time here.
The high point of his tenure was going to Haiti in 2015, to strengthen the relationships we have there and see what was being done at the school with the funds RCPC donates. Bart had the opportunity to take part/witness in the baptism of 63 persons while there.
With thanks to Wade Whitehead
Wade Whitehead agreed to speak with Historical Team Member Carole R. Banks about Carl Utley’s tenure at RCPC.
Carl filled RCPC’s need for an Interim/Transitional Pastor during the Pastoral Transition post departure of the Rev. Tupper Garden. Wade started out by saying he was a part of the group that created the mission Study Report that is required by the PCUSA when starting the pastoral search process. The purpose of a Mission study is to help the church in the examination of where they are, what is, was, and still important as well as the direction the church is going.
Carl Utley had specialized training as a transitional pastor and as such was able to lead RCPC through its transition following the retirement of its longtime beloved former pastor Tupper Garden and prepare the way for next called pastor to Raleigh Court.
Carl came onboard, jumped in with both feet showing that he thoroughly understood interim/transitional ministry, was very intentional with no sense of wandering or being led.
He was motivated from the start to encouraging/pressing lay leadership, to air/clean the dirty laundry so to speak, do the housekeeping that needed to be done prior to the arrival of the next call pastor to Raleigh Court. He guided the RCPC lay leadership to address serious future financial ramifications if the current budgeting model/system continued being used. He motivated the lay leadership to redefine the importance of where/how they distributed funds.
Carl inspired leadership to act Sanctuary renovation - ceiling and new /upgraded audio. placement of the American flag in the Sanctuary.
He was fantastic at easing compromise, inspiring leadership, dragging out issues that the leadership needed to address.
Carl communicated the transition process, mapped it out terms that promoted an understanding by the lay leadership. He was good at getting the lay leadership on board and leading the process. He encouraged reflection and the election of officers capable of leading.
Carl had a full command of the interim/transitional ministry and how to communicate it to lay leaders.
*Information from the Mission Study Report
Many capable and inspiring Interim and Associate Pastors have served Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church over the years, and we are grateful for their teachings, guidance, and friendships. Some of these people are listed here. If we have inadvertently failed to mention
someone who faithfully served our Church, we extend our heartfelt apologies.
A Search Committee began to look for an Associate Pastor to aid Rev. Whaley in the growing congregation. After months of deliberation, Matthew Aldas was chosen as Youth Pastor. He and his wife, Kathryn, moved to Roanoke from Austin, TX with their three young daughters. Matthew was a recent seminary graduate and certainly honed his experience at RCPC. His snappy bow ties, cultural references, and ability to connect with others endeared him to the congregation, especially the Youth. He was recruited to become Pastor of Buchanan Presbyterian in August 2019
Just one day after her seminary graduation and three months into the COVID-19 global pandemic, Isabella Fagiani was invited to interview with RCPC. She visited the church in June, 2020, accepted the call, and arrived on Sunday, August 30, which was Andrew Whaley’s five-year anniversary. The church welcomed Isabella with a drive-through reception parade, about which she said “I wouldn't see the bottom half of people’s faces for another year, but the welcome was so warm and joyful!”
Three months later, Isabella was ordained and installed September 20, 2020, as a Minister of Word and Sacrament and as RCPC’s Associate Pastor in a joint virtual service of Presbytery of the Peaks and her home Presbytery of Western New York. As a traditional laying on of hands was not possible, friends, family, and congregants traced their hands and wrote blessings on colored paper. These hand prints decorated the sanctuary and drew people together from far and near.
Isabella made an immediate impact on RCPC youth ministry. She embarked on a getting-to-know-you tour, which took her to driveways and porches of RCPC youth and families. During a time when many churches shuttered youth programs altogether, Isabella and RCPC Elder for Youth Ministry Robbie Whitehead worked to design and implement creative and safe ways for our youth to gather and grow. Zoom meetings became masked and distanced face-to-face events, and these eventually returned to a rhythm of weekly Sunday evening opportunities.
Through her energetic and creative mind, Isabella has grown the RCPC youth program into average attendance of two dozen each week. Important traditional activities, including lock-ins, support of the Homeless Assistance Team, the annual chili lunch fundraiser, and the Advent progressive dinner are complimented by new ones, which include Tree Top Quest at Explore Park, Massanetta Middle School Conference, and Hometown Mission Week. During confirmation, youth design special stoles (which, thanks to Isabella and Emily Jarrett, are sewn and gifted on Confirmation Sunday); these are worn every year on Youth Sunday as a reminder of community, commitment, and faith statements written and made during the confirmation process.
Isabella is joyful, dedicated, and loyal. She cares deeply about the physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of our youth and has worked tirelessly to advocate for their needs and their place in the church. Under Isabella’s leadership, our youth ministry is impactful and fun. As part of her ongoing innovation, she is now working on a long-term vision to support youth ministry at RCPC.