The Staff Parish Relations Committee, or SPRC, is a
fairly cut and dried committee. We have from five to seven members, each
serving three years. What we do is simple…we keep our church staffed with the
best possible members of our congregation. We are also a liaison to the
District Superintendent and the Pacific Northwest Conference.
Other committees throughout the church are fairly visible through their results—Finance, Trustees, God’s Hands, Congregational Care, Welcome and Invite, and so many others that we see, participate in, and hear from on a regular basis. Since we are the silent committee, I asked our members to tell you something about themselves—who they are, why they are part of the committee, and how they feel they help our church.
Brook Self served as Chair for many years beyond the prescribed three. She led us through staff changes, including office staff and music directors. Retiring from the position this past January, she continues to serve and to advise on the committee. Brook worked in the Social Work Department at Harborview Medical Center for 32 years, a position that has given her insight and vision as a member of SPRC. She has three sons, with “three incredible daughters-in-law”, four granddaughters and five great-grandchildren. Her reasons to be on the committee is to better facilitate communication between staff and congregation, a goal that she exceeds.
Darin Danner is an integral part of SPRC. Part of his profession includes hiring, work culture, managing people, and some HR responsibilities, skills that are valuable in the complex world of employee relations, even in our church. He brings these same skills to the table. Having served on SPRC at Faith UMC in Issaquah, a position he enjoyed, Darin felt he could bring the same enthusiasm and professionalism to Bear Creek. He and his wife Karin have two children—Jay and Morgan, two grandchildren, Adelise and Harrison, and another grandchild on the way.
Susan Jackson serves on SPRC as a Lay Leader representative. Susan uses her skills as a retired Northshore School District teacher and a current Clinical Supervisor for Western Governor University to bring a different viewpoint the rest of the committee might not see, one that looks with particular insight at the individual. Susan is the mother of Jennifer and Gus, and enjoys four grandchildren ranging in ages from college to early elementary. Susan feels she is here to support the spiritual community of Bear Creek.
Sonya Garrett joined SPRC in 2023 as a Lay Leader representative. As the Lay Leader representative, Sonya feels it is her job to represent the people of our congregation—connecting and reconnecting people, and engaging leadership and ministry. She, along with the committee, support Pastor Brook in implementing the church’s vision and (hopefully) aid in good communication. By serving on SPRC, it will help her to better know and understand the realms of the workings of our church. Sonya says she has a heart for Bear Creek, from its beginning in 1992. And seeing Bear Creek become the church it is, brings her a lot of joy.
Marcia Gordon is also a member of SPRC. Although family responsibilities have kept her from participating fully, Marcia will be bringing her many people skills to our committee. We look forward to when she can be with us fully.
I (Sue Burkholder) have been on SPRC for several years, as co-chair in 2021-22 and now as Chair. It is a responsibility I take seriously; the heart of our church is the Pastor and our staff, and knowing that we not only have the best possible people in these positions, we, as a committee, can offer them the support they need to do their jobs. I came to Bear Creek from southern Nevada in 2011, and have been blessed by this community, by the people who make up Bear Creek. I am currently caring for my 95-year-old mother, having moved her from northern Nevada a year ago. We live in the “Nanex”, a two-bedroom cottage 25-feet away from my daughter Teresa, son-in-law Mike, and three absolutely brilliant, beautiful, wonderful granddaughters. My son Kevin is a high-school teacher in Tucson, AZ, and my youngest, Jessi, teaches fifth grade in North Las Vegas. I have been a United Methodist for most of my life, a former SPRC chair at Sparks (Nevada) UMC, and a founding member and secretary to Boulder City United Methodist before moving to Washington. As a former desert rat, I can’t get enough of the seasons, of the rain, and of the green.
Thank you all for the support of our committee, for the support of Pastor Brook, Mona, Will and the rest of our staff. We are here for all of you.