by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor
Joy Community Church will join the pageantry of the season with the presentation of the “Birth of Jesus.”
For the second straight year, children of the church will act out the Bible story of the birth of Jesus. The presentation will take place during the usual Sunday morning service at 10:45 a.m.
It’s also a chance to meet their new pastor. David Tuggle has accepted a calling to lead the church. His first official service was Dec. 2.
Tuggle comes from a diverse background, but his specialty is working with youth. He managed a residential treatment facility for abused children in San Diego, before working at an inner-city Christian school in Seattle.
He moved back to San Diego, before accepting a calling to take on a youth ministry involving several churches in Virginia.
“I was working in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, trying to minister to kids from all kinds of churches,” said Tuggle. “They were looking for somebody to run a youth ministry for all the kids because most of the churches in that area couldn’t afford their own pastor, let alone an assistant pastor or a youth pastor.”
In the spring of 2003, he arrived in northern Michigan to attend a funeral, but ended up applying for and landing a job in Petoskey.
Years later, he took a teaching job at Cornerstone Christian School of Cheboygan, but when enrollment dropped dramatically, he was laid off along with another teacher.
He moved back to Petoskey and worked odd jobs until he was hired as a spiritual care director for Hospice of Little Traverse Bay of Petoskey, where he works now.
“It was really cool, because my unemployment ran out the day I was hired,” said Tuggle. “I was very much a God thing, because I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
He met a Joy Community Church search committee member through one of his hospice patients and led some services before becoming a candidate and being offered the position.
Because of family obligations, he agreed to take it, but only if he could continue residing in Petoskey with his wife and and three children. “(Joy Community members) care very, very deeply about their community,” said Tuggle.
One of his top priorities will be working with youth. “Working with kids, particularly junior and high school kids that aren’t going to church anywhere. I’m under the impression that there’s not a lot going on for kids that is relevant to them in the 21st Century. I think the Bible is relevant to everybody. It is my desire, as soon as possible, to get somebody in here and do something exciting for the kids.”
He will help as much as he can, “but you can’t effectively do both. They both deserve fulltime staff.”
He has a couple of people in mind.
“I want this to be a place young people want to be,” said Tuggle. So, Sunday is a perfect opportunity to meet the new pastor, and then after the service, there will be cookies and refreshments. The church is located at the intersection of M-68 and County Line Road, just west of Onaway. uggle became a licensed minister through Bethel Seminary of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2002.