This unique consolidation has brought together, the collaboration of our two eminently talented pastors, Bruce Backensto
and Keith Black.
...Bruce Backensto, pastor of Geneva RP, and Keith Black, pastor of First RP, will both keep their jobs and co-pastor the combined congregation..
suggested the idea of a merger to Black early last fall after the deacon board of the Geneva congregation completed an evaluation of the church property.
Black responded favorably to the concept and as Backensto
put it, "got the ball rolling."
"Both congregations met and there was a consensus," said Backensto
."When we saw that everyone was favorable to the whole concept, then we moved forward."
The process has not been a difficult one, according to both pastors.Black and Backensto
agreed that the ease of the situation has something to do with a pre-existing camaraderie between the two congregations.
As co-pastors of the new church, Backensto
and Black will be working closely together, jointly shepherding the congregation.
"With that in mind, it was really easy to move forward," said Backensto
added that the two complement each other at their strong and weak points.
noted that Geneva RP's
geographical removal from College Hill will be a new dynamic with which the congregation will deal.
What has been a relatively passive approach will become proactive, according to Backensto