Covenant names associate pastor for congregational life and care

Katherine Cooke Kerr will serve as Covenant's Senior Associate Pastor for Congregational Life and Pastoral Care following a vote by the congregation on Sunday.

The vote comes after an extensive search by an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. Members were Marilynn Mickle, Chair; Terry Horne, Mollie James, Leslie Pack Ranken, Henry Trexler and Bob Henderson (ex officio).

Katherine, whose first day is Oct. 21, comes to Covenant from First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, where she served as associate pastor for the past 11 years.

Katherine is known to many at Covenant, having served as acting director of Mission and Outreach and director of Young Adults ministries in 2001-02.

Below, please get to know more about Katherine.

Katherine’s message to Covenant

My greatest joy in ministry is making connections with people in order to share God’s love and spread God’s word. Whether in worship, in conversation, or through serving together, it is our human connections that most profoundly show us how God is at work in our world. 

It’s with great joy that I anticipate reconnecting with the Covenant community and growing together in the years to come.

Katherine’s perspective on ministry

On congregational life

God calls us into community for a reason. Together, we are able to worship, learn, serve and grow in ways we cannot do on our own. The ministry of Congregational Life is a vital complement to everything that we do as a community of faith. When our connections to one another are strengthened, so too are our worship and our ministries.

On pastoral care

One of the great privileges of pastoral ministry is being entrusted with the highs, lows and in-betweens of people’s lives. I take that privilege seriously, and am committed to providing a safe place for people to share what is on their minds and hearts, with the trust that it will be respected and kept confidential.

On theological issues

In a culture rife with uncertainty, conflict and anxiety, the church has the unique opportunity to speak a word of confidence, peace and hope. This is our calling and our highest purpose. As witnesses to Christ’s ministry of reconciliation and love, we can boldly confront the challenges of our day, trusting that God’s power is far greater than any human endeavor, and will always prevail.

Meet the Kerr family

Katherine is married to Bill Kerr, a marketing professional who is a native of the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC.

The Kerrs live in Plaza Midwood with their six year old daughter, Caroline, a rising first grader at Shamrock Gardens Elementary. Bill enjoys golf and hiking. He and Katherine love being outdoors and traveling together.

Insights from colleagues of Katherine

Not only is Katherine one of the most experienced and respected pastoral care specialists in the PCUSA, she also navigates ministry in ways that demonstrate her capacity for authentic and mature organizational leadership.

The arc of Katherine’s ministry has prepared her for this moment when the needs of your congregation align so well with her vocational gifts. Rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you will find Katherine to be trustworthy, unafraid and honest in her care and commitment to the Church. She also has a great sense of humor!

Lori Raible
Co-Pastor, Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church

I had the privilege of working with Katherine as the Parish Nurse at First Presbyterian Church. Under her guidance and leadership, I was part of a pastoral care team that touched the lives of countless church members.

It is hard to put into words how impressed I am with Katherine. She is strong and steady, yet gentle and kind. She has a presence that is equally felt in the midst of the joy of a baptism and the sorrow of a family in mourning.

I have learned so much from Katherine. She is remarkable, and Covenant is lucky to have her!

Kristin Foster
Former Parish Nurse, First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte

I have known Katherine for 25 years. I have worked alongside her, been cared for by her and watched her care for others.

I have watched her baptize both my children and I have seen her transform into one of the most genuine, giving, smart, caring, amazing ministers I have ever known. And she can preach!

Caroline Bynum Sharp
Elder at First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte
Former staff member at Covenant

About Katherine Cooke Kerr

Education

• 2005: Princeton Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity
• 1998: Wake Forest University, Masters of Education, Counseling; Recipient, Thomas Elmore Outstanding Counseling Student Award
• 1993: Davidson College, BA, History

Professional experience

• 2017 – present: Senior Associate Pastor for Congregational Ministry and Care, First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte
• 2008 – 2017: Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care, First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte
• 2005 – 2008: Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Oxford, MS
• 2004: Chaplain Intern, Hospice of Atlanta
• 2003 – 2004: Adult Ministry Intern, The Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, NJ
• 2001 – 2002: Acting Director of Mission and Outreach and Director of Young Adult Ministries, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Charlotte
• 1998 – 2001: Middle School Counselor, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
• 1994 – 1996: Bonner Scholars Program Coordinator