|Pastor in Residence has deep connections to SFTS|
Rev. Dr. Jim Moiso is a multigenerational kind of guy. Entering his fourth tour of duty at San Francisco Theological Seminary as the new Pastor in Residence, Moiso will draw on his days as a Master of Divinity student, Doctor of Ministry candidate with a young family and interim chaplain in his latest role.
What he brings to San Anselmo this time is 41½ years of experience as a pastor, a commitment to the education of future pastors and church leaders, and quite a bit of insight into SFTS history and the ever-shifting role of the church in society.
“I’ve just got a lot of experience,” Moiso said. “The seminary is in critical transition. It’s a very dynamic time to be here. I find it really exciting to be a part of the conversation.”
Moiso served as interim chaplain during the 2009 Spring Semester when Rev. Dr. Charles Marks was on sabbatical. Marks has since accepted an early retirement offer effective June 2010. Marks’ position was one of several eliminated due to budget reductions.
Serving as Pastor in Residence, Moiso steers chapel services with the help of four student assistants. Unique among Presbyterian seminaries, SFTS has chapel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10:15-10:45 a.m. during the academic year. Already this semester, Moiso moved chapel outdoors during Welcome Week and more recently up to the Scott Hall lounge. The latter was to give the SFTS community a sense of an “emergent” church worship.
Moiso’s duties this go-around also include serving as a resource when it comes to the practical nuances of being a pastor. “Weddings and funerals. How do you work with the bride’s mother? What do you do if it’s a tragic funeral? What is pastoral leadership?”
“If there’s a way I can help students learn from my experiences and become better pastors, that’s why I’m back,” Moiso said.
There’s no denying that few have longer direct connections to SFTS than Moiso. He earned his Bachelor of Divinity in 1967 and came back to get his Doctor of Ministry in 1985. He was also named SFTS Distinguished Alumni in 2005, has served as chair of the Alumni Council and was the alumni representative to the Board of Trustees.
His ties to SFTS have literally stretched from a time when all eyes were fixed on civil rights and Vietnam to a generation that is accustomed to online curriculum and using Facebook to support human rights.
“The world is so different and the church is so different,” Moiso said. “How do we equip each other to be effective instruments in this changing time? Now it has even more to do with how God is working with these changes.”
Moiso’s appointment as Pastor in Residence is a nine-month commitment. His return to San Anselmo just happens to coincide with his October wedding to Lea Lawrence (the widow of another SFTS alum, Rev. Dr. Kent Lawrence). She also lives in the Bay Area. There will be a wedding reception on the SFTS campus on Oct. 30.
“It’s quite amazing,” Moiso said. “It’s a gift.”