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New Pastor Welcomed at Salem Presbyterian Church

Salem Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce its new Pastor, the Reverend Christopher Vogado. In addition to his experience as a minister and worship leader, he is also an accomplished musician. Chris comes to Salem from New Hope Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, NC.

“I am happy to be at Salem Presbyterian,” said Chris. ““This congregation has a deep commitment to serving the community which is definitely one reason I felt called to come to Salem Presbyterian. The congregation has a proud and strong history of being rooted in Salem, but their focus is about the future and being relevant to the needs of others around the church. It’s an outward focused congregation, which welcomes all people to join in their ministry. Their warmth as a church is obvious to me both outside and inside the walls of the physical building. It’s a joy to see what is next and where God is presently leading us together!”

Chris was ordained as a Pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA in 2014. In addition to preaching, teaching, and pastoral care while at New Hope, he also led long range visioning, fostered relationships with local ministry partners, and took his congregation outdoors to worship.

Chris is a lifelong Presbyterian, born and raised in Maryville, Tenn. He enrolled at the University of Tennessee intending to major in Studio Music and Jazz.  His participation as a student intern in the Presbyterian Campus Ministry program changed his path and his major. He graduated with a BA in Religious Studies in 2008.

After a stint in a riverboat cruise Jazz band, Chris entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and received his Masters of Divinity in 2013. He also met his wife, Rachel, at Columbia. She is also ordained as a Pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA, with a passion to use the arts to articulate faith and deepen spirituality.

Prior to his pastorate at New Hope, Chris served as Pastor of Williams Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte from 2015-2017, and as a Chaplain Resident at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis from 2014-2015 in cardiac, palliative care, and behavioral health units. Before that, he worked in churches in Kingsport, Tenn. and Atlanta, serving youth and young adults, and as a worship leader and musician. His service to the denomination is extensive, including serving as Co-Music Director at the Massanetta Springs Middle School Conference in 2020 and 2021.

“The search process took nearly two years,” said Fran Ferguson, chair of the pastor nominating committee. “We were impressed with Chris’ energy, his Bible scholarship and insightful preaching, and his friendly, outgoing personality.”

Chris plays the guitar, dulcimer, upright and electric bass, and mandolin, with an eclectic taste in music that spans Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical, and other styles. His other interests include kayaking and being outdoors, Nascar, social justice issues, backyard astronomy, and his two cats.

Located on the corner of Main and Market Streets in downtown Salem, Salem Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is one of the oldest worshipping congregations in Salem. Special candlelight services will be held on Christmas Eve at 5 pm and 11 pm. Worship will be held on Christmas Day—and every Sunday—at 11 am. All are welcome.

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