37 Years at one address – now it’s retirement time for Shoreline Pastor

Friday, April 2, 2021

Teresa Shemaria and Pastor Jim Shemaria
saying goodbye to the congregation.
By Bob Junell
Photos by John Bates

Senior Pastor Jim Shemaria and his wife Teresa will retire from Berean Bible Church in April after serving 37 years in ministry at Shoreline, Washington, 28 years as senior pastor. Shemaria is a charter member of the church along with his mother, Eunice Shemaria, in 1964.

Pastor Jim and Teresa had intended to retire last year just as the Covid pandemic hit. He agreed to continue to serve as pastor while supporting the search team for his replacement. Now the time has come for a well-deserved rest and family time.

On Easter Sunday, Shemaria will deliver his final sermons as senior pastor at two services at 9:00am and 11:00am. All are welcome to attend Easter Services. (Information on the services is available at https://www.berean-shoreline.org/in-person-services/ Covid protocols will be observed.

Pastor Jim stated, “I have considered it an amazing privilege to serve the church that I have grown up in, and to work with so many who have had such a positive impact on my life throughout the years.” 

Pastor Jim at the Pulpit
of Berean Bible Church
When asked “what’s next,” the pastor who was always hands-on, helping with meeting preparation, construction remodeling, working with children’s activities, in addition to over 1,000 sermons, another 1,000 Bible studies, probably over 200 memorial services and 100 weddings, plus baby and children’s dedications, replied “ during retirement I will be busy doing what I so enjoy, including study and teaching after a brief ‘sabbatical’ to rest and refresh, listen to my record collection and taking long walks with Teresa in our neighborhood.”

Shemaria will continue teaching an online course for Grace Christian University and be involved in future local church teaching. 

After Sunday services, they will leave for Michigan for the birth of their 14th grandchild, then take some leisure time for their hobbies and relaxation.

During the transition while the church continues to look for a replacement, Pastor John Spooner will serve as interim pastor, and a former staff member of Berean, Dr. Jim Carlson will assist the Transition Team in their search for a new pastor. Spooner has been a pastor, leader, and staff member of Grace Christian University, serving recently as a senior pastor in Michigan and is well known for speaking and working with youth.

Berean Staff L-R Suzy Bates, Christian Education Director Pastor Jim Shemaria, Senior Pastor, and Pastor Gary Hansen, Associate Pastor. On the right, Pastor Jim with Ichabod Caine, legendary country DJ who spoke to the Men’s Dinner, 2019

Carlson served as Christian Education Minister at Berean from 1966-1971 and various churches in Michigan before retiring in 2012. He continues to assist churches and Christian organizations in a consulting role. Both men have deep connections to the Berean church family and are well-respected for their faith, service, and commitment.

As a pastor’s wife, Teresa was an active participant in ministries with children, including nursery and a club of girls. She also worked for the past twelve years at a local yarn shop as this is also a favorite hobby.

“I have always enjoyed serving with Jim in ministry at the church where I also grew up since childhood”, stated Teresa. “I attended schools in Shoreline, so it is always a privilege to be a part of the community I know so well.”
Family at Pastor Jim’s Installation -July 18, 1993.
Back - Emily, Sarah, Teresa, Pastor Jim. Front - Jimi and Linnea

Two of Shemaria’s daughters, Emily and Linnea and their families are also active in Berean, while his son, Jim, Jr. is a pastor in Michigan. The third daughter Sarah and family also reside in Michigan where her husband, Pat, is a professor of theology at Grace Christian University.

Shemaria has been active both nationally and locally as part of his ministry, currently serving on the Board of Grace International Ministries for the past 14 years. He has also been part of Shoreline Pastor’s Fellowship working together with other churches in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park for community activities and outreach.

Pastor Jim and Teresa enjoying the sights by camel in Petra, Jordan. Photo credit unknown. On the right, Pastor Jim with his vintage train set in his office enjoyed by many visitors over 28 years.

Jim and Teresa have led two tours to Israel, assisted on a third, including excursions to Greece and Turkey. In addition, they went on mission trips to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and a side trip to Jordan where they were on a first-name basis with two camels.

Known for his compassion, patience and commitment to teaching, he is well regarded by all who have been served by and have had the privilege of being around Jim.

“Pastor Jim and his dear wife, Teresa, will be mightily missed following their retirement. He is a staunch supporter of all our people both in times of joy and times of sorrow,” charter member and a ‘matriarch’ of Berean, 98-year-old Jean Berg stated. She added “their care for me during this past difficult year has brought a deep and abiding love for them. I thank God every day I spent with them.”

Associate Pastor Gary Hansen, who has served the church for 13 years, offered “Jim is a great friend and mentor. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with and learn from him over the years. His faithfulness in living out his calling over the past four decades is shown in the lives of generations of men and women who have been impacted by his ministry."

One of their sons-in-law and a fellow basketball enthusiast, Chris Fulford, viewed Jim as “more than a pastor to me as he has been a strong father figure and mentor.” He added “one thing that I have always loved about Jim is his calm, easy going demeanor, never wavering or judgmental, always reassuring and encouraging but on the basketball court, he is a fierce competitor.”

Berean Bible Church, 2345 N 185th, Shoreline, WA. New Billboard erected in 2019

Church historian and charter member Judi Gadbois observed that “Jim has an uncanny ability to remember everyone’s name as well as the names and facts about their family members and even events that happened in the distant past. Also, he was always there in times of trouble for our families.” Further, she added “his labor, sacrifice, wisdom, insight, and his enduring compassion for the work of the Lord will forever remain in the hearts and minds of all who had the privilege to hear and know him.”

In the fall, a Celebration will be held in their honor. For more information contact the church.

To register for Easter services, due to Covid protocols, please either use the church’s website at https://www.berean-shoreline.org/in-person-services/ for information and to register or call the church office at 206-363-1466.


James April 2, 2021 at 10:13 PM  

Pastor Jim is such an amazing man of God, pastor and friend! One of my first memories of him was at Christmastime in 1986 when my family had recently become a part of the church family (I was in 6th grade at the time). We definitely struggled financially and I remember Pastor Jim and another staff member showing up at our apartment with a load of groceries and presents, turning our Christmas into something better. Throughout the years, he's spoken into my life in a whole host of ways that have made it better and is a part of why I am serving in ministry myself.

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