Faith United Church of Christ




Pastor Jes

The Reverend Jes Kast

My name is Pastor Jes Kast and my call to pastoral ministry began soon after the waters of baptism were placed on my infant head. When I was a young girl I would assemble my stuffed animals into little pews and would gather grape juice and bread from my kitchen to lead this pretend congregation in worship. Helping people have meaningful encounters with the living God in Jesus Christ through the Spirit is what I have been called to do for the entirety of my life.

The Midwest raised me and the Big City formed me. I was formally educated in Michigan where I went to Western Theological Seminary and was first ordained by the Reformed Church in America (RCA). At the time I felt called to be part of the broader conversations the RCA was having as they discerned the role of faith in modern Christianity. Over the course of several years I discerned that I was being called to transfer my ordination to the United Church of Christ as this family of believers acknowledges the generous vision of the reign of God in Christ that has always informed my faith. Put simply, I preach the Sacred Scripture that sings of a strengthened soul into modern faith with warm pastoral sensitivity and joyful worship.

It was on a Christian and Muslim peacemaking trip to Oman that directed me to New York City. It was also in Oman that my understanding of modern Christianity and Jesus’ commandment “to love your neighbor as yourself” meant that the concerns of our interfaith neighbors were also the concerns of Christians. Since Oman, President Obama’s Interfaith Education Initiative invited me to the White House; I have led interfaith dialogues and prayer gatherings in New York City; and most recently have served on The Governor of New York’s Interfaith Advisory Council. Working together to foster a Spirit of generosity and care is something I am passionate about in our congregations and the wider community.

In 2010 I began my ministry at West End Collegiate Church and the shape of that ministry has grown from a Pastoral Intern, to an Associate, to most recently the Interim Head of Staff. After many years, I was surprised to discern that New York City was no longer where I was called. I believe before I even knew you Faith UCC, that God was calling me to Pennsylvania to a vibrantly progressive and deeply faithful community. My wife is a professor at Bloomsburg University and we believe that for our family, a permanent move to Pennsylvania is best for us.

While at West End Collegiate Church, one of the highlights of our shared ministry was the revitalization of our soup kitchen ministry, which we transformed into a worshipping community that we named A Taste of Heaven. You can read more about this ministry and the collective work we did together as a church at Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership blog here (https://www.faithandleadership.com/soupkitchen-turned-worship-service-taste-heaven-model-ministry-rather). Immediately upon seeing your church profile I was excited by Faith’s testimony and witness in ministry. I am even more convinced of that now after my time with the incredible Search Committee and beginning to envision what new ministry empowered by the Holy Spirit at Faith UCC could look like.

My wife and I are drawn to State College for its cultural diversity, thoughtful conversations, and the location of the beautiful backdrop of the rolling mountains situated in Happy Valley. I feel called to be the Pastor of Faith UCC and am drawn to your warm hospitable witness of God’s love in Jesus Christ. The location inspires me as we minister together to each other and the borough in the energy of the surrounding area. Your light of God is evident and I believe together we will shine even brighter as we serve each other and the community by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My prayers are with each of you. I look forward to meeting you and to begin to hear your stories and know you more. I believe God is doing a new good thing in us together!

With much joy and peace from God our Creator,

The Reverend Jes Kast