Evangelical Covenant Church welcomes new pastor

New Pastor: LeRoy is a community of great diversity, one of the many reasons Jesse Silmak wanted to become the new pastor of LeRoy's Evangelical Covenant Church. (Courtesy photo)
New Pastor: LeRoy is a community of great diversity, one of the many reasons Jesse Silmak wanted to become the new pastor of LeRoy’s Evangelical Covenant Church. (Courtesy photo)

LEROY — Jesse Slimak, the new pastor at LeRoy’s Evangelical Covenant Church, hopes to make a positive impact on church members and residents as he begins a new chapter with his wife, Emily, and children, Aurea and Easter.

“I want our church to act as the hands of Christ in the community,” said Slimak. “I want to refine and build up the community.”

The 32-year-old is originally from metro-Detroit, graduated from North Park Theological Seminary last year and was ordained last month.

He said that although his family was not active in the church while he was growing up, he befriended Christians while studying at University of Detroit Mercy and began reading the Bible.

He accepted Christ and was preparing for graduate school when Slimak said he was called by God to become a pastor. He was nervous, but chose to listen and follow the call.

“It’s a tremendous responsibility, but I feel like if I didn’t do this, I would be like Jonah fleeing from God,” Slimak said with a laugh.

He said the LeRoy community impressed him from the beginning due to its range of denominations in such a small area, a diverse background of religious traditions, its ability to provide a faith-based, nurturing community for his children and the expectation of local churches to be a community center. In addition, he was accepted and welcomed immediately with open arms.

In regard to his preaching style, Slimak said he believes Christians need to take ownership for their actions, and will challenge the church congregation to do so.

“We always need to look at ourselves and ask if we are Christ-like,” he added. “I am more challenging to those in the pews than those out of the pews.”

In addition, he said he wants to assist the organizations that are already in place, helping them grow. Currently, the church offers Sunday School and a women’s outreach group called Joy Club, multiple Bible fellowship group and more.

“I want to provide leadership and support for what’s already going on,” Slimak said. “I also think focusing on children and seniors is important and should be invested in.”

To help welcome Slimak and his family to the area, as well as provide a meet-and-greet activity for the community, Joy Club is hosting a picnic at 1 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the church. A bounce house and a pony will be available for children as well. He said he invites everyone from the LeRoy community and beyond to attend.

Slimak’s sermons can be found online in audio form at leroycovenantchurch.org.