The Reverend W. James Gerling is a dedicated, compassionate pastor who sees his role extending far beyond the pulpit to encompass community service, social justice and advocacy. Since his arrival in Geneva nearly three decades ago, he has touched the lives of thousands of local residents as a respected senior pastor of the Presbyterian Church and a highly regarded Geneva resident.
Reverend Gerling is first and foremost a gifted and caring pastor who has served two terms as Clergy Delegate to the General Assembly, acted as Moderator of the Presbytery of Geneva and has been active in many presbytery committees.
Reverend Gerling's involvement in the community is extensive and his impact is deep, affecting progress across the entirety of the Geneva community, from the area's youngest members to its most senior residents. A listing of his civic and leadership engagement shows a variety of roles on many different projects: Unity Day, Celebrate Service, the Community Playground, the Community Lunch Program, the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and the Campaign to renovate the Geneva Public Library. He has worked on Community Unified Today, an advocacy group for people of color in the areas of housing, childcare, human rights and social justice, and is a member of the Martin Luther King Committee.
Focusing additional efforts on the wellbeing of older Geneva residents, Reverend Gerling serves as member and past chair of the Finger Lakes Health Foundation Board. Recognizing that older community members were not being served, he took it upon himself to chair a task force to assist the health system in planning a senior living facility.
Reverend Gerling advocates for the young people of Geneva as the board president of Success for Geneva's Children, a community collaboration of agencies and programs that serves Geneva's children and their families. He is the co-chair of the capital campaign for the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, which has raised more than $4 million and allowed for the construction of a community center. Reverend Gerling is also the co-founder of Miracle in the Park, a triathlon fundraiser to combat hunger in the community.
A graduate of Muskingum College with a master's degree of divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary, Reverend Gerling understands well the power of higher education to transform lives.