The congregation at Scottsboro’s Cumberland Presbyterian Church is proud to welcome their new pastor, Micaiah Tanck, and her husband, Brian, director of Christian education, to the community.
Both are graduates of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey and hold two master’s degrees, each.
Micaiah grew up in Columbia, South America, the daughter of Lynn and Nona Thomas, who were missionaries.
Her first job as a pastor came while she was still in college at the age of 19.
“I was the pastor of Hueytown Presbyterian Church,” she said. “It was a small congregation of 20. I filled in one Sunday and preached and they called and asked me to take the position."
As a classically trained dancer, her aspiration had always been to be a professional ballerina.
“I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about ministry until I worked at that church,” she said. “But I loved it. It was a very telling moment that led me into the ministry.”
Brian is originally from Minnesota, and grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois. The couple met in college and married on May 30, 2015.
“We have different things that we focus on in ministry,” Brian said. “We both have a Master of Divinity, and she has a Master of Spirituality and Mission, while I have a Master of Children and Youth Ministry.
“We applied for jobs last spring after we graduated college,” he said. “She interviewed here at Cumberland and got the job. And then I was hired as the director of Christian education. We moved to Scottsboro in June.”
While it is the smallest city Brian has ever lived in, he and his wife already like Scottsboro.
“It’s a great place,” Micaiah said. “I love the mountains, the lake and the hiking. Also, because it’s a small town, it allows camaraderie and friendship to grow faster than a large city.
“As a female, I was a little worried about coming into the position as pastor,” she said. “I’ve been very surprised at the way the congregation has been so receptive.”
Tragically, the church has had several funerals recently, but even through that, Micaiah has learned from her congregation.
“I’ve learned that if you will pastor them, and stand beside them during those difficult times,” she said, “their pride in their pastor really shows.”
The church congregation is usually around 130-140 on Sundays.
“Part of why I was brought in,” Brian said, “was because the youth program had slowed down. I’ve met nothing but good here. The parents and the grandparents are very supportive of the kids. If we do something fun or silly, they are right there to volunteer and help.”
For now, Brian’s youth group consists of around 13 kids from the fifth to eighth grade.
“We will be starting our children’s ministry for kids in the first through fourth grade in January,” he said. “Our purpose is to help our kids grow in the three main components of ministry which are: Bible, worship and service.
“It’s my first time working in a full-time ministry position,” he said. “We are very blessed to have found a church that needed both of us and can utilize our ministry gifts.”
The couple has been meeting other pastors in the area and has already seen areas where they would like to reach out.
“We’ve heard a lot about the city and the Jackson County area,” Brian said. “We have a lot of teachers in our congregation and we see a lot of potential in the areas of education, food and in helping disadvantaged kids.”
Micaiah is an artist, as well as a ballerina, and would also like to see art and perhaps even dance become available to area children.
Brian reads a lot and likes sports including football and basketball. “I like being silly,” he said. “I love to do goofy things like blow up Coke bottles by filling them with Mentos. Children’s ministry is a good fit for me. This church runs like a big family. They treat us like we are part of that family and they have really welcomed us in.”
As a pastor, Micaiah is proud of her church, and is focused on growing the spiritual formation of the congregation.
“I’ll be preaching about a deeper, more meaningful understanding of prayer, and I’d love to see the congregation have even more involvement in the community,” she said. “This congregation is really accepting,” she said. “I’ve never seen a congregation be so on board with a new pastor. They care a lot. I think Scottsboro is a really nice city and I’m looking forward to the future at this church.”
Contact Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 256-574-2575 for more information.