Rev. Sharon Pajak is a native of Mesa, with roots that go back, first to the founding of the city and the introduction of Methodism to a solidly LDS community, way back in the 19th century, and to the beginnings of Grace UMC in 1964. Her parents were charter members of Grace and she was the second person ever baptized here (her sister was first!).
Sharon attained her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Grand Canyon College (now University), and after a year off went to Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, completing her Master of Divinity in 1990.
Married in 1998, Sharon’s husband, Al, is a vertebrate paleontologist-turned-teacher-turned educational technology guru who just completed his PhD in Education Sustainability. He is employed at EdKey, Inc., a system of charter schools throughout the Valley. Al is transitioning from classroom instruction to designing the culture and curriculum for the newest EdKey school in the west Valley and providing leadership development for all faculty across the whole EdKey school system.
Al & Sharon have one daughter, Elizabeth, who just graduated from Red Mountain High School in Mesa. She will be attending the University of Arizona in the fall, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Creative Writing, and joining the Wildcat Marching Band!
While in college, Sharon volunteered with the junior high UMYF group at Trinity UMC in Glendale, getting her first taste of church work from “the other side.” After college, Sharon served as a summer intern at First UMC in Mesa and worked as a youth director at First UMC in Durant, OK during her first year of seminary. After seminary, she has served as associate pastor and senior pastor at multiple churches throughout our Conference, and even served a two-point-charge (two churches at one time) through a cross-conference appointment in Nebraska while her husband went to school.
She writes, “Ever since I graduated from seminary, it has been my dream to serve Grace, the church of my beginnings. At long last, my dream has come true!” Rev. Sharon Pajak joins the staff at Grace on July 1, 2021.