SUNNYSIDE After searching for a church for several years, a pastor found his new home at the local Presbyterian Church.
A California transplant by way of Wyoming and Colorado, Pastor Michael Joseph Souza is settling into his new role as spiritual leader of the South 16th Street church.
He replaces Pastor Katie Haney, who retired last June.
Souza will be officially ordained into the ministry 1 p.m. on Sunday as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church USA, The ordination ceremony is open to the church family.
Souza preached his first message to the 100-plus member congregation on March 1, after convincing his wife this should be their new home.
“I told the pulpit committee I wouldn’t come to Sunnyside without my wife’s approval,” he said.
She agreed to make the move after meeting church members.
Souza, 54, said his wife, Becky, knew he was excited about the call to be here, “…but she needed to be convinced to leave a good job and move our family from the Bay Area back to Washington.”
The Souza family had lived in the Everett area for about nine years, where he worked as director of an adult ministry and she as a physician’s assistant.
Family health issues caused them to move to California in 2010, where Souza has family.
It was great to be around family, he said, but the opportunity to have his own church drew him here.
Souza said he began looking for a new church by sending out resumes and began waiting to see what would happen.
It took a meeting with his mentor group in Everett late last year when the local church opening presented itself to him.
“I met with the pulpit committee and here we are,” he said. “I’m excited to be here and to make this our home.”
Souza added that his family just put an offer down on a house.
He said Becky and his daughter, Lacey, 8, will move to town later this month.