meet our team

Rev. Dr. James W. Kirk

Pastor Jim was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area. He grew up and graduated from Plum Senior High School. Jim was baptized, confirmed and served in The Presbyterian Church. He answered God’s call to ministry and was ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Pittsburgh Presbytery in 2008. For five years Jim served as a Student Pastor and then as Associate Pastor at Ken Mawr United Presbyterian Church in McKees Rocks, PA. In 2011, Jim was called to serve as Pastor here at Valencia Presbyterian Church. He currently has completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in Parish Ministry Focus and resides with his wife, Kathy, here in Valencia.

Education 

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, Doctor of Ministry

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, Master of Divinity

Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA, Bachelor of Science

Service in Ministry

Valencia Presbyterian Church, Valencia, PA, Pastor

Ken Mawr United Presbyterian Church, McKees Rocks, PA, Associate Pastor / Student Assistant Pastor

Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek, Elder, Youth Leader, Sunday School Teacher

Public/Private Life

Here at Valencia Presbyterian Church, in addition to leading worship, Pastor Jim also leads Bible study and small groups. In the community, he is active in visitation and in encouraging people in discipleship, as well as leading worship services and small-group Bible study at The Woodlands of St. Barnabas and at St. John’s Nursing Home. Being a follower of Jesus Christ, Pastor Jim feels blessed by answering God’s call and being supported by lots of people, including his wife, daughters, and their families.

Some of Pastor Jim’s experiences have been serving with the World Mission Initiative in Vietnam; leading, and coordinating youth/adult ministries here; and implementing discipleship opportunities for spiritual growth. In October of 2014, Pastor Jim spent 12 days in Vietnam, working with church leaders to support home churches. Then, in 2015, he and his wife, Kathy along with another couple organized a second trip to Vietnam to follow-up with support for the growing Presbyterian Church of Vietnam. Pastor Jim enjoys supporting the mission and outreach ministries at our church and in the Beaver-Butler Presbytery. He has also served on the Alumni Council of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, as support for students. Pastor Jim has also completed service on the Advisory Board of The World Mission Initiative at PTS and The Ministry Vocation Committee of Beaver-Butler Presbytery.

Pastor Jim is happy to be serving the LORD with his gifts here in leading the staff and church family as faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Having completed his Doctor of Ministry degree with a Parish Ministry Focus, his published thesis is available at the church or here, on this web site, for reading.

Pastor Jim is married to Kathy Kirk, who works as Business Administrator at the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek and is a long-time quilter. They both are enjoying spending time with their daughters and their sons-in-law, Katherine and Chris Hill and Sarah and Kenny Cline.  Pastor Jim and Kathy are now the proud grandparents of both Ruth Joellen Hill (3) and Guy Benjamin Hill (2 months)!  They would be happy to show you pictures! The Kirks feel blessed by God in many ways after 43 years of marriage, 18+ years of ministry, and being surrounded by loving church families.

Pastor Kerry Dowdy

Kerry was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in the Valencia area. She graduated from Mars Area High School. Kerry was baptized, first communion, and confirmed at St. Thomas in the Fields Episcopal Church in Gibsonia. Her family moved to Connoquenessing Woodlands and Kerry moved to East Butler in the fall of 2006 and has lived there since. She renewed her faith at East Butler Presbyterian Church in 2009 and joined the church shortly afterwards.

East Butler Presbyterian’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Mary Kitchen, has been an integral part of Kerry’s call to ministry with her encouragement. Rev. Mary inspired Kerry to be more involved with the church by asking her ‘would you like to be an elder?’ Rev. Mary also asked Kerry if she would like to become a youth leader, participate in the Missional Church Partnership program, and lead children’s time during worship. Kerry responded yes to each of these inquiries. Kerry’s call toward pastoral ministry is one following many gradual little steps by the Holy Spirit spanning several years. Kerry has been attending Pittsburgh Theological Seminary working toward a Master’s in Divinity degree as a part time evening student.

Education

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity (2023)
Slippery Rock University, Master of Science- Accounting
Slippery Rock University, Bachelor of Science- Finance
Butler County Community College, Associate of Science-Accounting

Public/Private Life

Kerry works full time as the Administrative Assistant for the City of Butler. Kerry enjoys reading and cooking. In addition, her favorite pastime is about anything outdoors: hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, bird watching, etc. She is married to Brian and they have celebrated their 5th anniversary. Kerry has four adult children through marriage: Amanda, Mathew, Brian Jr., and Mickale. Brian and Kerry enjoy spending time with the grandchildren: Hunter, Payton, Baylee, and Racer.

Kerry loves animals and has two dogs (Sadie-cocker spaniel and Bodhi-west highland white terrier), four cats (Bill the Cat, Shelby, Sugar, and Earl Grey), and one chinchilla (Biscoe). Kerry competes with Sadie in Rally Obedience and Fast CAT and is hoping Bodhi will compete in the future. It is a fun, bonding experience for the handler and dog.

Kerry is excited about her Field Education opportunity at Valencia Presbyterian Church. She hopes to learn and grow in her faith while continuing her call to ministry discernment. She would like to bring her gifts of children/youth ministry to her Field Education position as well as acquire more pastoral experience. We pray and ask for God’s spiritual direction and wisdom to all those involved in Kerry’s field education at Valencia Presbyterian Church.

Church Staff

Denise Smith

Secretary

Dana Leskovic

Bookkeeper

Ken Trautman

Pianist/Keyboardist

Mike Pasquinelli

Treasurer

Church Officers

Our Church thrives because of the energy and style of the people who are a part of our leadership. These people help make our church community special.