Lisa Horst Clark, Lead Pastor
I am honored to work with this church as we seek how we are called to love God and neighbor in this time and place.
I originally grew up in Northern California, with a time in central Illinois that lent me an abiding love of casseroles. I grew up in a UCC church that allowed me to explore the mystery of the divine, and I knew the church as a force for good, love and justice in the world. I went to school in Philosophy at Pomona College, and it was there that I heard my call to ministry. Following that call would lead me across the country and back: first to New Haven, CT for seminary at Yale Divinity School and my first call in Guilford, CT and now back here to Bellevue, WA. I came to serve here at First Congregational Church in 2011 as Pastor for Spiritual Formation, and have loved the chance to minister with these thoughtful folks who are seeking to make a difference in the world.
When not at the church, I spend my time with my husband Josh and chasing around my young kiddo, who always keeps me on my toes.
Cristina Airaghi, Pastor of Children’s and Youth Ministries
Each week I am overjoyed by the children’s willingness to play and create in response to the scriptures. It is a sacred, and often silly, time with them. More than any other moment on Sunday mornings, it is when the children—children of all ages, gender variations, ethnicity, and ability—come bouncing up to receive the bread and wine that I see the true strength of the UCC to welcome all to the table. I am humbled to have found a home here in Bellevue to share my passion for the visual arts and my love of creative, playful spirituality.
“My deepest vocation,” says Henri Nouwen, “is to witness the glimpses of God I have been allowed to catch.” As an artist, the majority of my portfolio contains artwork that is based in Scripture. By sharing these artistic pieces that arise from deep moments of prayer and conversations with God, I have been able to share my own glimpses of the divine with others. When I preach and teach with the visual arts, more of our senses are engaged. Through storytelling, play, and breaking bread together, we come to know each other and our playful, loving God.
A Midwesterner by birth, the Pacific Northwest is truly where I belong. As John Muir says, “The Mountains are calling and I must go.”