Rev. Danner arrives as senior pastor at Sanibel Congregational UCC
Like most folks who come to Sanibel from various points up north, the new senior pastor at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ truly couldn’t wait to arrive on the island.
Equally so, the congregation was eager for his arrival. After all, Rev. Dr. John Howard Danner was coming here from Westport, Ct. following a a 17-month interim period while the search for a new senior pastor was completed.
“It was a long search-and-call process the Congregational Church uses,” Rev. Danner said on Tuesday. “There are extensive documents that have to be filled out. What it does is bring together churches who are seeking to fill positions and pastors who are seeking positions at churches.”
Rev. Danner, who was elected senior pastor at a congregational meeting in November 2009, began his ministry here last week. He and his wife, Linda, are moved to Sanibel from Connecticut, where he had served as senior pastor of the Saugatuck Congregational Church since 2001.
“Coming here had a lot to do with wanted to be close to family,” he said, noting that they have a son and his family living in Fort Myers and another son and his family living in Orlando. “Our daughter lives in Cambridge, Mass., so we’ll have to talk her into coming down here for a visit. And this time of year, that won’t take much.”
Rev. Danner’s career spans more than 30 years in the Congregational Church, with significant experience in adult education, youth ministry and community outreach.
Asked about how his first sermon at Sanibel Congregational UCC, Rev. Danner noted that it was both positive and well received.
“I think it went very well,” he said. “I got a lot of great feedback. My topic was ‘All You Need Is Love.’ In particular, I addressed what it means to be a pastor.”
In part, his sermon reads, “We are indeed called as partners in Christ’s service. I’m willing to take the risks. I’m willing to be vulnerable in sharing my own story – and in listening to yours!”
Now relocated and eager to experience all that Sanibel has to offer, Rev. Danner added that his first priority is becoming involved in the community and its people.
“When I go into a parish, I like to take four to six months getting a better feel for a community,” he said. “I want to get to know the congregation better, provide the pastoral care that is needed at the moment, and get to know my staff. There are a lot of unique qualities to Sanibel, and I’m extremely impressed with the communities’ commitment to the environment and the arts. It’s such a beautiful place.”
Sanibel Congregational UCC currently offers a chapel service on Sundays at 7:45 a.m. and full services at both 9 and 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome, regardless of church affiliation. For more information, visit www.sanibelucc.org.