Leadership

Rev. Sarah Pirtle, Minister
Rev. Sarah Pirtle, Minister

Rev. Sarah is delighted to be the minister of the Village Church, and to be able to support a circle that is Interfaith and very welcoming. She knew at 17 that she wanted to be a minister, and she has provided services for churches for over 40 years, primarily for Unitarian Universalist congregations.

In conjunction with her national travel as a teacher of peace education, she led services, workshops and family concerts at churches in eight states. She was ordained as an Interfaith Minister in 2009 by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. For seven years she worked at the Ashfield Congregational Church as Director of Youth and Family Education. She is a member of the UUA Church of the Larger Fellowship.

Her goal was to follow in the footsteps of her childhood minister, Rev. Dr. Jacob Trapp, of the Summit Unitarian Church. Trapp was a moral giant, a friend of Martin Buber, and Sarah accompanied him in the town’s first civil rights demonstration at the death of Rev. James Reeb in Selma. From the start, the work of the ministry meant for her a call to moral conscience and community care.

Highlights of Sarah’s work include co-leading a 10-day workshop on Easter Mysteries, Earth Mysteries with Matthew Fox and Joanna Macy at the Findhorn Spiritual Community, Scotland, and teaching a course at the Chaplaincy Institute called “Sacred Conflict Transformation.”

Seventy-five of her songs can be heard for free at Sarah Hope Sings. Her nine recordings have received 10 national awards including Lifetime Achievement from the Children’s Music Network.

The newest of her five books is an expanded second edition of An Outbreak of Peace, which received the Olive Branch Award for outstanding book of the year on world peace when it was first published in 1987.

Poems, responsive readings, and portions of her sermons are available in the blog section of the website. Previous sermon topics include,“ A Larger Heart Carries Us: Dialogue and Understanding,” and “Tree of Life: Spring Equinox and Women’s History Month.”

Joshua Wachtel, Community Coordinator
Joshua Wachtel, Community Coordinator

Josh became involved with the Village Church in 2013 when the church offered to host a luncheon during the Community Resilience Summit he organized. About the same time, Josh also began performing at the church’s Friday Night Cafe. The church’s interest in the well-being of the cultural life of the community appealed to him, and he began attending services with his family.

Josh is a musician and educator, and he has worked for many years in communications in the field of restorative practices, which seeks to foster meaningful social bonds and collaborative decision making.

Leadership Circle

It takes a committed team, contributing in many different ways, to sustain our church and keep it a vibrant force in the community. The following constitute our church’s Leadership Circle:

  • Rev. Sarah Pirtle, Minister
  • Joshua Wachtel, Community Coordinator and Clerk
  • Melody Sanislo, Moderator
  • Scott Keith, Treasurer
  • Pat Keith, Trustee
  • Conrad Liebenow, Trustee
  • Elaine Holder
  • John Maruskin
  • Laura Sheridan
  • Lyle Hazel
  • Brenda Arbib

Members of this group as well as other church members and friends may contribute items to our agenda. We strive to hear the voices and concerns of the entire church body and make decisions by consensus whenever possible. The ultimate authority of the church rests with all church members and friends who form our Church Council during our Annual Meeting and other meetings scheduled as needed.