For well over 30 years, Haapalainen has taken seriously the high calling of preaching God’s word and has served as Lead Pastor in churches across the nation for 21 of his 31 years in ministry. In his most recent role, he served the congregation at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Munster, Indiana as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. In addition to being a devoted theologian, Haapalainen, a dedicated scholar, earned a Doctorate in Ministry and Masters in Divinity. He has also spent time working as a Professor, teaching undergraduate courses on philosophy and religion.
“I see in FCC a faith family ready to stand firmly on a wonderful tradition and history and reach into the tomorrows God will give us together to do ministry and mission,” said Haapalainen. “I am excited and looking forward to the ways God will change the world around us through our shared life together.”
Haapalainen accepted his new role as Senior Pastor following a search engagement co-managed by Sally Morgenthaler, Vice President of the Ministry Division at FaithSearch Partners. “Bruce is uniquely qualified to lead FCC’s religiously diverse congregation,” said Morgenthaler. “His ability to deliver both contemporary and traditional sermons allows him to reach multiple generations of followers. His sense of humor, depth of knowledge, warmth and commitment to Christ enable him to deliver God’s message in a way that reaches people of all walks of life.”
First Congregational Church, situated in a city of 50,000 in the hills of North Central Ohio, was founded in 1833 and has continued to be a congregation known for its commitment to community involvement for 180 years. With a membership of more than 650, FCC has a strong heritage and place in the Mansfield community and has a respected reputation within in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches. More information can be found on the FCC website.
FaithSearch Partners is one of the nation’s leading retained executive search firms and is the only one of its kind focused exclusively on identifying and recruiting leaders for churches, parachurch organizations, as well as faith-based hospitals and healthcare systems. Combined, consultants at FaithSearch Partners have successfully managed more than 450 executive-level searches for numerous high-profile faith-based organizations across the country. Its website can be found at www.faithsearchpartners.com.