Countryside announces Rev. Tracey Perry as the Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care

Announcement

Reverend Elka Tracey Perry will be joining Countryside Community Church as Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care 

Press Release

Congregational Letter from the Moderator Team

April 13, 2021

Dear Countryside,

Your Moderator Team, with Church Council’s approval, is excited to make another announcement.  Reverend Elka Tracey Perry will be joining our church as Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care on May 1, 2021.  She worked as a government contractor for years and for a period at the Pentagon.  Pastor Tracey, as she prefers to be called, felt called to ministry.  She has served congregations in Colorado, Maryland and Washington, D.C.  She is excited to work with the members of Countryside, especially in congregational care, which is a particular love of hers.

When asked why this position interested her, Pastor Tracey, said, “Pastoral Care, preaching and teaching God’s Word, and engaging the youth and church at large, are my areas of interest, and where I thrive.” Her preaching style promises to engage, challenge, and teach the congregation in new ways.  She says, “I’m a teaching preacher…I’m not pro-Democrat or pro-Republican.  I’m pro-Jesus.”  We discovered that she is somebody who finds healing and hope in laughter.

Pastor Tracey brings experience in social justice work and loves to invite the larger community into her church work.  Pastor Tracey has been a Keynote Speaker at Women’s Retreats, and a Guest Speaker in churches. She has sat on panels for racial justice, and she spoke on a research study panel on “Race, Religion and Policing” for Yale University. She has worked with the police department, in collaboration with other Pastors, to assist and bring about healing and faith-based guidance, to the police officers, for interaction with minorities and Black communities, in Maryland. Pastor Tracey taught a curriculum she created, for a class for Pastors and lay leaders in Washington D.C., on race and preaching. She has experience with interfaith dialogue, having partnered with other faith traditions in the past.

Pastor Tracey likes communication and discussed it at length during her interview process.  She knows that we are a community dealing with grief and transition and sees this as the first challenge moving into this position, to make sure that people feel heard and know that they have a place in our church family.

She wants to get to know as many people as possible in her first days and weeks with us, and brings a great passion and ability for pastoral care and community building.  Pastor Tracey and her husband, William, will be joining our church family as soon as possible, as she hopes to be in Omaha before the first of May.

She will complement the gifts and skill sets of Rev. Dr. Anna Crews Camphouse and Dan Loven-Crum in our new collaborative leadership model.  These three will comprise the Executive Leadership Team during our interim period. We are excited by what she will teach us, and the opportunities this leadership team will bring to strengthen Countryside and lead us in the ministry to which God has called us.

With joy and love,
Tracey Halvorson, Moderator
Aubrey Fitzke, Vice Moderator
Diane Poots, Vice Moderator Elect