Dear Member of St Andrew,
The time has come to announce our Committee’s unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation that the congregation call Reverend Nicole Trotter as the next pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.
It is with great joy, thanksgiving and a deep trust that God has lead us, the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) and Nicole, to this moment. A congregational meeting will be held on Sunday, October 11, for your vote on the confirmation of Reverend Nicole Trotter as your new pastor.
This nomination was reached by much prayer, discernment and work over the past 12 months. Many candidates felt called to St. Andrew to be our new pastor. They were meticulously vetted by your PNC members. We feel humbly honored and blessed to present to you a pastor candidate who brings the attributes, qualities and pastoral care that you listed as important to you in the extensive survey and focus groups of last fall.
Nicole is currently pastor of St. Luke Presbyterian Church in San Rafael, CA where she has served as the solo pastor since June of 2015. In addition, she is Co-Chair of the Committee on Ministry for the Presbytery of the Redwoods.
She received her Masters of Divinity from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA, in May of 2015. Previously, Nicole had attained her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Theater Arts with an emphasis on Acting in May, 1987, at the State University of New York at Purchase.
Prior to her pastor position at St. Luke in San Rafael, Nicole was active and employed in other ministry positions in the North Bay area. From 2003-2008 she was the Christian Education Director at Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church in Mill Valley.
She then served as Director of Family Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tiburon from 2009-2015. It was during this tenure that she completed her studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary.
It would take pages to expound on the experiences and skills she acquired and honed at the ministry positions noted above. What we found during our interviews, background research, reference checks and her in-person sermon last month was God answering your and our prayers for our next pastor.
Many of the gifts, traits and skills that Nicole will bless us with were repeatedly and in-dependently cited in our reference check interviews. Those only served to confirm what we, the PNC, had ascertained through our multiple interviews and conversations with and in-person observations of Nicole.
Here are some of the words, phrases and statements that were used to describe Nicole in our conversations with her references:
“When I think of Nicole at St. Andrew I see her energy, creativity,..singer, theater…works well with kids…understands the value of creativity and is an excellent preacher. Nicole has a heart for mission work.”
”…as the pastor leading worship, Nicole had a wonderful presence and appeared very comfort-able in her own skin leading those worship services.”
“Nicole is very gifted. She comes with the mind and capacity of an artist. Open, transparent and a vulnerability about her. She will tell the truth…not sugar coat nor hide or cover up some-thing.”
“ Wherever she has been, people love her. She is a pastor, #1. She loves and cares about people. She’s very warm, caring and welcoming. She will respond to people’s needs. She’s good with all ages of people. She was very good with children’s ministry and young families. She’s very good with older people too; she’s very sensitive and connected with them. Nicole is very good at making each person feel cared about.”
“She is very insightful regarding the Scriptures and spirituality, and that comes through in her preaching. Her insights are very compelling.”
“She is very open at seeing different ways of viewing Scripture. While she has her own ideas, she is open to having dialogue about them. She is not a “put-down” person. She is very much a “lift-up” person. One of her strong views is that just because people do not interpret every pas-sage in the Bible in exactly the same way should not prevent them from being able to worship and fellowship together in the same church.”
“The values she feels she cannot compromise on, and that she is very clear about, are:
- Black lives matter.
- LGBTQ people are loved and celebrated by God.
- The church at its best is filled with diversity of people, opinions and backgrounds who choose to love one another across all differences.
- The church needs to reach out and touch the society we are living in, and not pull back into itself.”
“Her talent. She has plenty of creative ability and can make it happen.”
“…she has a great reputation amongst those (at her Education Ministry and Director of Family Ministries positions) that knew her, and of her, with regards to family and children’s ministry.”
“collaborator and consensus builder”
“She is all about relationships.”
“If you have Nicole as your pastor, you will be very blessed. I’m sure you will have a lot of people who will want to come to your church.”
Nicole was born in Merrick, NY which is located on Long Island. She went on to college in Purchase, NY, and lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan after completing her degree. Nicole moved to LA in 1990, relocated to Portland,OR, and finally landed in Marin County in 1996.
She has two children– her son Morgan, age 24, and daughter Charlotte, age 21– with her former husband. Nicole is in a committed relationship with Eric Rowe, a high school special education teacher, musician and the kindest and most patient person she knows. Eric grew up in the Presbyterian Church and his mother Barbara served as Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian for 21 years. Eric earned his MA in History before entering teaching and has been volunteering with disadvantaged youth at Canal Alliance in San Rafael for 5 years. And rounding out her family is a 15-year-old black lab that adds great joy to her world.
Nicole has a diverse family faith background and spiritual journey. She grew up Roman Catholic, where she received her first Holy Communion, complete with a white veil, gloves and patent leather shoes. To this day, she will visit Catholic sanctuaries and sit by the statue of Mary for guidance, reflection and comfort.
Once her mother discovered Sufism, this introduced Nicole into a community of loving, heart-centered people who practiced acceptance as their focus. In the meantime one of her older sisters married a Jewish man and converted to Judaism and the other sister followed the Bahai tradition.
At the age of 26, Nicole met her now ex-husband, who introduced her to the Protestant tradition. His family was deeply rooted in the United Methodist Church. Once married with their first child, Nicole began teaching Sunday school, giving the children’s sermon on Sundays, and the rest is history. Sunday continues to be her favorite day of the week.
Nicole’s enjoyments and interests are: jogging, hiking, visits to the ocean, strumming the guitar and singing, writing, knitting, drawing, treasure hunting at thrift stores with Eric, baking chocolate chip cookies, watching 1950’s-1970’s TV shows as well as en-joying music of that era and putting together dollhouses.
We thank you, the congregation, for the confidence you have placed in our committee, the patience you have exhibited, and especially for your prayers for this effort.
Your Pastor Nominating Committee
Eric Van Cleave