Home Ministry Spotlight Pillar College Appreciates Pastors: Honoring Rev. Layne Mershimer, First Congregational Church of...

Pillar College Appreciates Pastors: Honoring Rev. Layne Mershimer, First Congregational Church of Chester, NJ


Photo: Pastor Layne Mershimer 

During Pastor’s Appreciation Month, tristatevoice.com is partnering with Pillar College to honor local pastors in a three-part series. Today, we honor Rev. Layne Mershimer.

On October, 15 Pillar hosted a virtual Pastors’ Appreciation Breakfast event with Pastor David Ireland. 

Pillar College – with locations in Newark, Somerset, Paterson, and Plainfield – “educates, inspires, and equips students for excellent scholarship, service, and leadership.”


Rev. Layne Mershimer is thankful to pursue Christ in community as Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Chester, New Jersey. God “unmistakably” brought the Mershimer family to New Jersey fives years ago after nearly 15 years of ministry in Texas.

Pastor Layne has an undergrad degree from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago Illinois and a graduate degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM). He also holds numerous life degrees from saints God has put in his path over the years – stalwart men and women who have helped shape his life and ministry – and desires to pass his faith on to the next generation and to prove that the grace shown him has not been in vain.

The First Congregational Church of Chester was founded in 1740 “when dedicated Christ-followers, seeking religious freedom, joined to together in community to worship the risen Savior.” The church sees its amazing heritage as “a foundation upon which we embrace our responsibility to proclaim Christ so future generations may come to know the life-changing grace of God.”

Pillar College President Dr. David Schroeder said “Pastor Layne Mershimer has such a pastor’s heart,” and is thankful that he accepted the call to lead the church in 2015.

“Having worked with the Chester Congregational Church and preached there often prior to his coming, I was very concerned that they would call someone who would love them. They did,” said Dr. Schroeder. “I was concerned about him making the adjustment to New Jersey,  coming from Texas. He did!”

Pastor Layne is a third generation pastor and has been blessed with two brothers who are his closest friends and who are also pastors. His life-mission is helping people find hope in Christ. His ministry is relational, Christ-focused, grace-based, and gospel-centered. Two of his most recent favorite quotes are, “When you have nothing left but God, you have more than enough to start over again” (Mother Teresa) and “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our souls are restless until they find rest in you.” (St. Augustine).

Pastor Layne said First Congregational Church, which is part of Pillar’s Church Partner Program, is thankful for the college’s faithfulness to the Word of God and the Cross of Christ.

“We made our commitment to [Pillar College] because of what they do and why they do it,” he said. “It is exciting to be a small part of the joy of seeing men and women educated in a Christian environment making an impact in every facet of life; both in business and in ministry. Our prayer is that God would provide, sustain, and empower them for generations to come.”

For more information about Pillar College, visit www.pillar.edu.