BOUNTIFUL— She hasn’t been here very long, but she’s already feeling at home.
Rev. Jodi Bushdiecker, who has had 24 years of ministry experience in places such as Tennessee, Michigan, and Colorado, is the new pastor at Bountiful Community Church. Since taking over the position at the beginning of this year, she said she’s quickly grown to feel like she’s a part of her new congregation.
“It’s a church with a strong community identity, both among themselves and in service to the wider community,” she said. “I’ve been very welcomed into that community.”
Bushdiecker received her Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University, and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1992. Though she’s held several leadership positions in the ministry, Bountiful Community Church is her first experience as a lead pastor. She said that she was drawn to the church not only for the beauty of the area, but the nature of the church.
“The Bountiful Community Church is an accepting, welcoming and affirming place that accepts people as they are and invites them to grow in the faith,” she said.
She said her focus for the first few months has just been to become more familiar with her congregation, which she described as having a strong volunteer leadership. She feels that developing bonds with those volunteers, as well as other members of the congregation, are a vital foundation to the ministry.
“It’s really about building relationships, because ministry is about relationships,” she said. “Learning people’s names, hearing their stories, and just jumping into the life of the church.”
Beyond that, she hopes to take the strong community spirit and involvement already exemplified by the congregation and allowing it to grow and expand even further.
“The congregation is very interested on building its identity and involvement in the community,” she said. “It’s poised for growth and change, and my biggest goal would be visioning with the congregation about what God is calling us to be, then implementing that vision.”
Since the BCC pastor position is part-time, she also works as chaplain at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful.
“Being a hospital chaplain is providing a ministry of presence that is very individualized according to the needs of a particular patient or family,” she said. “It’s really about being available and present to enter into the experience of the other. Often in a hospital, that experience is of pain, fear, loss or anxiety, and of course that raises emotions and spiritual issues.”
Though it’s a different experience than serving as pastor at Bountiful Community Church, she said the experiences harmonize well.
“It allows me to use my skills and experiences specifically for spiritual care,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it as a compliment to my work here.”
As the year moves ahead, she’s looking forward to continuing that work.
“I feel very humbled and privileged to have the opportunity to serve this community of faith and the wider community,” she said. “I and this congregation look forward to continuing to partner with others in the community.”
For more information about Bountiful Community Church, visit uccbccchurch.org.