Rev. Jonathan Mitchell – Pastor
I grew up in Walla Walla, WA. My family faithfully went to church every Sunday. When I graduated from high school I wanted my independence and went to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. After two years, I decided on a career in secondary education. I desired to teach in Washington and began to look for a university closer to home. During that time, I married my high school sweetheart, Jana. Together, Jana and I went to Seattle Pacific University.
After graduating, I did many different types of teaching jobs, but none of them were satisfying. Jana obtained a fantastic job in Walla Walla, and we returned home. There, I worked for six years at the housing authority assisting low income families with stable housing and other services. I learned a great deal about poverty, humanity and myself. Meanwhile our daughters, Ellice and Lydia came along.
During this time, I became deeply involved in the Presbyterian church where Jana grew up. The community of faith was in transition between pastors and in need of leadership. I was on session, and took up a number of leadership roles. I preached occasionally, led liturgy and was the youth director for a time. These experiences were deeply satisfying. I was happy with this way of life. However, Jana and other close friends encouraged me to consider a career in ministry. A move of this magnitude was the furthest thing from my mind. After consultation, prayer, and deep soul searching I began to pursue an adventure at seminary.
The passion for becoming a minister caught fire when Jana and I visited Princeton for a perspective student weekend. I was amazed at the professors’ passion for training people to do ministry in their part of the world. The weekend was transformative.
Jana, Ellice, Lydia and I pulled up our roots and began an amazing, grace-filled adventure that began at Princeton. I initially served First Presbyterian Church in Idaho Falls, ID and Community Presbyterian Church in St. Anthony, Idaho. After three years, we moved to First Presbyterian in Maryville, Missouri. It was a wonderful decade of service in the rural mid-west.
As Ellice and Lydia moved into the college phase of their lives, Jana and I are ready for the new thing God has called us to do. We look forward to returning to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and experiencing what God has in store at First Presbyterian Church in Pendleton.
Pastor Jonathan was called to service in Pendleton on June 2nd, 2019. The Covid 19 Pandemic brought a set of unique challenges to the position in the first couple of years. Return to in-person worship has been a welcome change. Pastor Jonathan is serving the congregation of First Presbyterian Church through preaching, home visits, and contributing to multiple boards in the church and community. He has special interest in promoting fair housing and resources for the underserved. And he especially enjoys making appearances for Preschool events and helping at Westminster Woods Camp activities.
Nimei George – Office Manager
I am Nimei Salander George and I am from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands called Saipan near the island Guam. We are U.S. territory and this island is 12 miles long! I am from a humble family of 10 including myself. I am the second oldest of my family and I am proud to say that they always look to me for guidance. Right after my high school graduation, I wanted to leave the tiny island immediately to explore. I came out to Eastern Oregon University in 2016 focusing on European History. However, I changed my major to Business Marketing and then transferred to American Continental University after covid. I am currently engaged to my future husband, David Esquivel. Currently a resident in Pendleton and we usually do road trips around the state which is why I love roadtrips. I love roadtrips and street food tacos. In the islands, we have excellent sushi and burgers but we do not have street tacos.
Big Changes to the Church Office
With the addition of Nimei George to the staff there come other changes. The office manager job required more varied skills than most people could be expected to possess, so it has been divided in half. Nimei will do the secretarial and outreach portion of the job and Linda Muller, through Redhead Express in Echo, will do the financial portion. Bills to be paid should be put in the “Treasurer” box on the wall in the office. Please affix a reimbursement slip including who should be paid, how much, and from which account. We are most grateful to Linda for her willingness to take on this task. Church giving statements are being prepared but we need your help. Some of your donations may not have been correctly entered in the statement. If you need a statement for your taxes, please contact the church office to see if all your contributions have been accounted for.