FAPC Calls a New Associate Pastor

Update: On Nov. 28, Werner Ramirez was examined by the New York City Presbytery. The Presbytery then concurred with the decision of this congregation, and approved the ordination and installation of Werner as our new associate pastor. On Jan. 6, Werner will be ordained at his home church, Covenant Presbyterian in Long Beach, California. We will announce a date for his installation at FAPC soon. Congratulations, Werner!

Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church has called Werner Rodrigo Ramirez to serve as our Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Werner’s nomination was unanimously approved at a Congregational Meeting on Nov. 19.

Werner with APNC Chair Nancy Moore and Personnel Committee Chair Susan Steele.Werner, who has served as FAPC’s director of youth and young adult ministries since September, will become a full-time member of the clergy staff on Jan. 1. He is currently in his final weeks of study at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing dual degrees—a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Christian Education and Spiritual Formation. After graduation in December, he will be ordained as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) on Jan. 6 at his home church, Covenant Presbyterian, in Long Beach, California.

He will be formally installed and celebrated at FAPC in early 2018. A date will be announced soon.

"After prayerful consideration and long deliberations, there was no doubt that Werner Ramirez was called to ministry at FAPC, and we were called to him," said Nancy Moore, chair of the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee, in placing Werner’s name in nomination before the congregation. "He has a a strong passion for youth and young adult ministry, not as a stepping stone, but as his vocation. He is humble, collaborative, a powerful listener, and passionate about nurturing the spiritual gifts of others."

The five-member committee began meeting last December and conducted a nationwide search for our new associate pastor. (In addition to Nancy, members of the committee were Jes Levine, Jama Toung, Wade Ware and Jeff Yao.) After a careful review of the applications received, and several rounds of Skype and in-person interviews, Werner was the unanimous selection.

"I am very excited about how this young man complements our pastoral team," Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston said. "He's got an unbelievable ability to connect with and relate to youth and young adults. I congratulate the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee on a phenomenal job in recommending Werner to this congregation."

"I am thrilled to be joining the pastoral team here at FAPC!" Werner said. "I have had a good introduction to the people in NEXT Ministries and the FAPC Youth Group, and it delights me to see how God has been working in their lives. I am so ready to dig deeper into those relationships once I start full time."

Werner was born in 1986 in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and moved with his family to the United States in 1991. A self-described "Presbyterian since the womb," he grew up in southern California in a family that was actively engaged with the church.

"I’ve known since eighth grade that God was calling me to pastoral ministry," Werner said, and he has followed that call for most of his life. He earned a bachelor's degree in youth ministry and worked as the director of student ministries for a Presbyterian church in Los Alamitos, California, for several years after college. During his time at Princeton, he served as the co-pastor of Kingston United Methodist Church ("a small church with innovative young adult ministry") in Kingston, New Jersey.

Werner and his fiancee, April Fellers, will be married in California next summer, when she will join him in New York.

To learn more about Werner, and read his statement of faith, check out his biography here.

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Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church