Pastoral Transition

Welcome Rev. Dr. Shelly Wood

Pastor and Head of Staff April 2024

Rev. Dr. Shelly Wood

 A letter from Dr. Wood
To the faithful community of the Old Presbyterian Meeting
House —

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is an honor to introduce myself to you and tell you how excited I am to serve among you as pastor in this next chapter of our lives. I have had the privilege of getting to know the members of your Pastor Nominating Committee and have been watching you from afar on your website and livestream, and through the process I have heard God’s call to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed with “energy, imagination and love” at OPMH.

For the past 10 years I have served a larger congregation in the suburbs of Indianapolis. There I have grown as a leader, a preacher, and an administrator. We have worked faithfully to discern God’s call in the world through community outreach, strategic planning, and entrepreneurship. This is indeed a strange and wondrous calling and a unique time to be the church in the world. I have tremendous hope and anticipation for the future of OPMH and her place in the upbuilding of the Kingdom. I love your rich history, your voice for justice, your desire to learn, your passion for youth and children and your love for worship.

I can’t wait to meet you.
— Shelly

About Dr. Wood, in her own words

I grew up in Central Illinois and was raised at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington-Normal. My dad was a High School Social Studies teacher, and my mom ran a day care out of our house before she “went to work” for State Farm. I am the oldest of three daughters.

In my early years my parents both had the summers off, so they rented a rustic cabin with no television or phone in Northern Wisconsin for up to 8 weeks. This experience of living completely away from society from the age of 7 to 11 was formative. I spent my summers reading, writing, baking, and engulfed in nature.

My dad used us as his classroom and our dinner discussions always focused on a topic that required debate, logic, and sound reasoning. My mom practiced the Rule of St. Benedict and also meditation and centering prayer. She ran women’s retreats and held book groups where they studied Tillich, Merton, and Hildegard of Bingen.

My parents were deeply political and were engaged in Amnesty International, the NAACP and later, Moms Demand Action. They believed strongly that our responsibility was to make the world better, to be good citizens and to strengthen society.

I went to college with the goal of being an attorney, fighting for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I received a scholarship for the speech team at my college and fell in love with higher education. In graduate school I worked as a hall director and Director of Orientation. I received my master’s in counseling and worked at a domestic violence shelter. After graduate school I worked for the Illinois Supreme Court where I
learned how departments work together (or don’t) to address the issue of domestic violence. It was through that experience that I had an identity crisis and realized I was
not in the right profession.

My husband Blake and I were married during this time.

God had been nagging at me forever at this point and I was tired of the conversation. I thought maybe I could help families by being a youth pastor. Of course, I thought, I would never be in the pulpit. I applied to seminary and attended McCormick in Chicago. I commuted by train from Springfield, Illinois to Chicago every week for three years.

After I graduated, I received my first call as a youth pastor at the church where I served as an intern. I found out I was pregnant with our first baby one month before I graduated. Our second daughter was born 18 months later. I served at Westminster Presbyterian Church for 7 years and then moved to Iowa to serve as head of staff. One
week after the PNC had extended a call, I found out we were going to have another baby. Our son, Jackson, was born five months after moving to Iowa. We lived there for
7 years and then moved to Carmel Indiana, where I have Madelyn, Blake, Shelly , Jackson, Maclean & dog Samwise served for the past 10 years. This is all to say that my
motherhood and ministry have always co-mingled, and I have understood them as mutual calls, one not more important than the other.

Today I am 52 years old, my daughters are in their early 20s and Jackson is a Junior in high school. They are becoming amazing human beings. I am an avid reader, a yogi and a lover of music, theatre, movies, art, literature, sports, (especially baseball and basketball) and fly fishing. I cherish the friends who have stayed with me throughout
my life and am grateful for a family who loves me just as I am.

The Call Process

Pastor Nominating Committee


Spring 2023

PNC wants to hear from the congregation! Build to consensus on OPMH priorities

Opportunities to Participate

  • Jump start
  • Fill out CAT Survey
  • Attend listening sessions
  • Email PNC


Summer 2023

PNC develops the Ministry Information Form based on information gathered during Listening Phase M.IF goes Live

Opportunities to Participate

  • Pray for PNC
  • Patiently wait
  • Receive periodic updates
  • Recommend Candidates


Summer Fall 2023

PNC reviews Candidate Personal Information Forms; conducts interviews and additional research

Opportunities to Participate

  • Spread the word that MIF is live
  • Encourage folks to submit their PIF
  • Receive periodic updates


Winter-Spring 2024

PNC selects top candidate; Negotiates Terms of Call; Presents Candidate to Presbytery COM

Opportunities to Participate

  • Attend congregational meeting
  • Vote on Call
Visit Us

We're Glad You're Here

Next Worship Services: Sunday 10:00 AM