by Contributed content June 22, 2022
On Wednesday, May 25, at a duly called congregational meeting, members of the Woodside Village Church voted enthusiastically to call Pastor Ama as Senior Pastor of the Woodside Village Church. The church will officially install him in a ceremony on Sunday, June 26, followed by a meal, cakes and festivities. The community is invited to the service and to join in the celebration.
Reverend Ama Zenya started at Woodside Village Church as pastor on April 1, 2015. Originally appointed to serve as pastor for an interim period, she came to help the congregation understand each other, clarify its direction and prepare for long-term ministry. In 2018, the congregation approved an additional designated mandate. This term ends on June 26, when she will be installed as an established senior pastor.
Pastor Ama was ordained in 1998 after receiving his master’s degree in theology as well as a master of arts in biblical studies from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Women’s Studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and received coaching and church revitalization training from the Church Multiplication Training Center; in leadership development from the Gamaliel Foundation; and in transitions in ministry through the Interim Ministry Network.
Pastor Ama grew up in Kenya, East Africa, the daughter of an Anglo-Kenyan father and an Irish-American mother. She currently lives in Woodside with her husband and two boys aged 13 and 15. Her background motivates her to nurture respectful and loving relationships with people of all traditions and cultures, as well as with the land itself. Pastor Ama brings an infectious and creative exuberance to his leadership, working with others to create inclusive ministries.
When she arrived in Woodside, she met with many members of the community to learn how the village church could meet the needs of the village. Neighbors and residents told him that Woodside needed a gathering place where grandparents and those with young children at home could get to know each other, where equestrians, cyclists and walkers could meet in conversation; where everyone could find themselves in peace to experience well-being and the arts in a beautiful and welcoming environment. From these conversations, the Village Hub was born.
Created in partnership with dozens of neighbors and friends who came together to beautify the landscape, plan events and initiate programs, the Village Hub has truly become a hub for our village. Last year, a campaign called “Lift Up Our Village: Restore Our Community Hub” raised funds to improve and restore the beauty and functionality of the campus, and changes are already evident in the beauty of the courtyard of the Village Hub. The church became particularly important during the pandemic as a place where people could “safely sip” outdoors with social distancing.
And in her newly established capacity as a pastor, she envisions an ongoing collaboration between church and community that deepens the quality of life for all.
“It feels like a fresh start for Woodside Village Church that we have been working toward for seven years,” says Pastor Ama. “The whole atmosphere on the campus of the church is filled with peace, love and joy, and I believe our neighbors and friends feel this feeling when they enter the campus. The church has identified compassion , creativity, community and joy as our core values, and my hope for the future is that we continue to create a place where these values shape the experience of all who visit.