Salem Friends Church welcomes new pastor
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30.
According to the new pastor, Jared Haley, at Salem Friends Church in Salem, this passage summarizes his and his wife Cairistiona’s mission for the church.
“I want to spread hope and to get people to Him (Jesus) so He can do his thing. He’s so much better at it than me,” Haley said.
Jared Haley and his wife moved from a town outside of Denver, Colo. to small-town Salem. Why? “Because God said to go. We were in a transitional period for about two years and we needed to figure out where to go and what we should be doing. This opportunity came up and it was the right decision. We don’t have to pretend to something different here,” he explained. “We had a sense of God’s peace here.”
“Both of our families are right there in town in Denver. We didn’t want to get away from them; it wasn’t like that and we are pretty close with them. It’s good to have a break from them, but it’s where our home was and we lived there our whole lives and the only reason we came out here is because we felt that we were called,” Cairistiona Haley said.
The Haleys have two young children, a son who is seventeen months old and a daughter who is 5 months old. They moved here in the middle of September, but Jared had to do his face-time for his master’s program, so they were gone for a week and just got back last Thursday. “We’ve been busy,” the Haleys’ joke together.
“God just seems to keep doing stuff. It’s fun to be on that side of things and saying ‘alright Lord, whatever you want,’ and figuring it out as He leads,” Jared said.
“We have always been in ministry, doing youth and music but we would have never thought a senior pastor. It’s kind of funny and a little crazy. God worked on our hearts this whole year to prepare us for this moment. I would have never thought, ‘a pastors wife?’” Cairistiona Haley said.
“One of the things that attracted us to this church was the different programs they had in place. They had a kids’ club, but it’s not happening right now because of circumstances. We always have room for growth, which is true for any church. With my experiences and where I’ve been and where God has taken me, I don’t feel overwhelmed and I think this is good,” Jared Haley continued.
Jared Haley continues by noting, “I was a music pastor and I was part time. I would oversee the music and I did that through college and went to Ireland for two years. I was in Denver for four years and at another church for about three months. When I was in Ireland, we started a youth club for kids there. What I did was oversee a smaller part of the church and as senior pastor I oversee everything now, ‘the buck stops here,’ in a sense because there isn’t anyone ahead of me now. I like the church here, it’s not huge and I can really invest in people’s lives and get to know people.”
Jared Haley attended Barclay College in Kansas and he said that it was a small town as well. “It was about 800 people, but that included the college. So all we are missing here is a small college,” he jokes.
He then talks of his trip to Ireland and the two years that he lived there. “I lived in a party where there was a lot of bad stuff going on. It was a lot of government housing. We started a kid’s club there. We rented a soccer field and we played soccer with them but at four, five years old they were swearing and we wanted to provide guidance to them,” he begins.
“It was a rough area and I know we have those areas in America but it was cool because two weeks before I left four of the kids we were working with accepted Christ for the first time and it was kind of climactic I guess, for all that we did. They gave me a Bible and they all wrote in it and this one kid said ‘please come back,’ and I think about him all the time and pray for him,” he continues.
The young family wants to bring brightness to the church. They are welcoming, bubbly and are ready to spread the word of God to those who attend the church in Salem.
“We want to bring a freshness a passion and a fire for the relationship with Jesus. We want to help people to see that God does love them and there is purpose. We don’t want to bring religion or a burden, but a freedom and hope. We understand that life is hard and that circumstances are different, but we want to help people to see that peace, joy and comfort that God brings,” Jared Haley says. “We want to go way beyond what religion can do, and we want to bring this to the body of believers in this community.”