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Arthur Wesley Mills, Former Pastor
Arthur Wesley Mills graduated from California State University at Sacramento with a BA in Government and received a Graduate Diploma in International Relations from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, the Netherlands. He did additional course work at Cal State Sacramento in Government. Later, he received his Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1990.
Prior to his call to Stone Church in January 1996, Art was the ordained Program Officer for Religion and Environment, Marin Community Foundation, and Parish Associate and regular worship leader of the Pt. Reyes Presbyterian Church. As Program Officer, he led the development of a number of new and special ministries and citizen action environmental programs. He has also assisted various interfaith and cross-cultural efforts and has brought together academic leaders on various subjects of community interest.
In 1995, Art was Moderator of the Redwoods Presbytery. At about that same time, he served as the Parish Associate of Point Reyes Presbyterian Church.
At Stone Church, ministry under Art's pastoral leadership included several key aspects, some new and some a continuation of long tradition. Children were encouraged to participate in worship. There was always a children's message, and they participated fully in the prayer and sacramental life. The Prayers of Joy and Concern became a lively part of worship life, with people fully expressing and lifting up to God in prayer their deepest joys and sorrows. The rich tradition of sacred music in worship was continued with the partnership of Minister of Music Leroy Kromm. With Art's support and encouragement, Leroy often led the congregation in joyous singing of gospel hymns. Other forms of music, including instrumental and voice, jazz and classical, were in full view. A mid-week contemplative Taizé Worship service welcomed many members and non-members into a place of peaceful sanctuary in the midst of global chaos.
Early in Art's tenure, and with his full participation, the congregation considered and supported and the Session approved a Covenant of Dissent, protesting our denomination's discriminatory policies against gays and lesbians. Art also started a new form of men's involvement, consisting of quarterly Mission Work Trips. These involved hard work, fellowship and spiritual formation. Several Presbyterian camp sites, including Zephyr Point, Westminster Woods and Camp Mattole, now enjoy improved facilities because of these trips.
The buildings at Stone needed renovation when Art arrived. With his encouragement and occasional prodding, the Session moved through the early phases of a feasibility study, decisions to move forward, more planning, a successful major capital campaign, and finally to the successful completion of the building project that resulted in our beautiful new Social Hall, Nursery, Kitchen, Education wing, front patio, back patio, and office building.
Art served as Senior Pastor of Stone Church from January 1996 through January 2005. He and his wife Thea have two adult children and (as of October 2006) five grandchildren.