Oak Harbor churches welcome new faith leaders
— Created September 30, 2020 by Kacie Jo Voeller
By Kacie Jo Voeller
Two of Oak Harbor’s local churches recently welcomed new leaders to their congregations. Grace by the Sea Anglican Church will be led by Kyle Logan, who relocated to the island from Santa Cruz, Calif. Whidbey Presbyterian Church’s new pastor will be Greg Steible, who moved from Indiana to lead the church.
Steible said he and his family have been anticipating the move to Washington and he looks forward to serving as a pastor at Whidbey Presbyterian. The church had a Drive-By Pastor Parade to welcome him and introduce congregation members at a safe distance.
“We have been looking forward to coming to the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “We have known that we would be coming to this church since February, but COVID had stopped all that.”
Logan said he and his wife moved to Whidbey Island because of the opportunity at Grace by the Sea and look forward to getting to know the community.
“I had always been an associate rector or an associate pastor but we felt like the Holy Spirit was leading us into a new season of our lives where I would be leading a church,” he said. “After a lot of prayer and seeking out wisdom from other pastors who knew me, we started to look for a place for me to lead, and Grace by the Sea and Whidbey Island was the place that the Lord wanted us. So that is where we are.”
Steible said he is hoping to grow new connections with the congregation and the community as he begins his new role.
“I am looking forward most to getting to know people, not just here in the church but also in the community,” he said. “I think it is important for churches and people of faith in general to be active and supportive in the more broad community. We are called to help others and support others and to live a global life, so I am looking forward to getting to know as many people as possible, which is easier said than done obviously.”
Logan, who was ordained in 2016, said he hopes to see the church gain new members in the future.
“We are hoping to grow the church,” he said. “We would like to see some families join the church and develop a really strong children’s ministry. We want this church to be a place where families feel really safe and feel like their children are being grown up into the Lord. We want this church to be a place where disciples are made, ultimately. We want to make disciples of older people, we want to make disciples of people in their 40s and 50s and we want to see more people come to Christ.”
Steible said COVID-19 has had a number of impacts on the church and his start as the pastor.
“Day-to-day, it looks different in that I cannot go visit people in the same way,” he said. “I might be able to sit on a front porch but I am not able to sit in a living room and have a cup of coffee, so it is harder to get to know people on one level, but everyone is embracing the phone as the new way of life and online video conferencing. Through technology we are able to continue growing in our relationships, which is really what I am about. It is different but it is the same in many ways.”
Logan said the church is working to create opportunities to connect with people and help others grow in their faith, even in the midst of the pandemic.
“We are a very welcoming community so if people are feeling lonely because of COVID-19 and they are not able to be out and about with family or friends, we livestream our services on Facebook so people are able to worship with us,” he said.
Steible said he is happy to now call Whidbey Island home and looks forward to the opportunity to get to know the island and its residents.
“We are thankful to be here and we are thankful to be able to get to know people in the community and in the church,” he said. “My goal for the congregation, and I think it is a shared passion of many here, is to be able to live in the world building relationships with others.”
Logan said he felt blessed to be brought to the island to serve as a faith leader for the community.
“We are thankful that He called us somewhere that is beautiful and that is going to be a fun place to live,” he said.
For more information on Grace by the Sea Anglican Church and Whidbey Presbyterian Church, visit their websites at gracebythesea.org and whidbeypres.org. Grace by the Sea offers an in-person service with social-distancing measures and also streams on Facebook at 10 a.m. each Sunday. Whidbey Presbyterian currently hosts online-only services via Facebook and YouTube every Sunday at 10 a.m.