Our Pastors


Pastor Jeff Byerly

Lead Pastor


Pastor Stewart MacDonald

Children & Youth Pastor

Pastor Jeff Byerly was born and raised on a small farm in eastern Lancaster County. He feels at home within the community and rural setting of Bethesda Church in southern Schuylkill County. He is married to Tasha and has two children, Ashley and Erin.

After graduating from high school in 1979, Jeff pursued an education in engineering and computer technology. He was employed by Ford Electronics Corporation in Lansdale, PA and Digital Equipment Corporation in Burlington, VT.

Jeff was licensed to preach in the Evangelical Congregational Church in 1986, where he now serves as an Ordained Elder, having graduated from Evangelical Seminary in 2000 with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. He has served as a pastor since 1991 and began ministry at Bethesda in January 2000. Jeff’s passions are fixed on the elements of congregational health and missionality. It is the combination of these passions that has helped to navigate the course for God’s expansive mission at Bethesda.

Jeff currently serves the EC Church as the Ministerial Development Associate, overseeing the credentialing process for each pastor from beginning to end. In this role, he works closely with the Bishop to develop the processes for men and women to follow their callings and move toward ordination. They also work to develop proactive resources for pastoral health, as well as disciplinary and restorative processes for pastors who lapse or struggle in their pastoral roles. Having been trained as a church health facilitator, he teaches the Congregational Health course in the Institute for Church Leadership program at Evangelical Seminary.

Jeff is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in theology (Th.D.) in the area of organizational theology, and therefore continues to be researching and developing his understanding about how religious organizations can best develop leaders and navigate the future within a changing North American culture.

Jeff loves traveling, fishing, kayaking, writing, listening to music, and vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.


Pastor Stewart MacDonald grew up in Salibury, MD where he received a call to ministry during his teenage years, while participating in various youth groups. He went on to receive a BA degree (June 2005) in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Valley Forge and is a recent graduate (May 2015) of Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, where he earned a MAR degree in Spiritual Formation. Pastor Stewart brings a substantial level of maturity and experience into this position, having worked at two different campuses (Buffalo and Rehrersburg) for Teen Challenge, and most recently with Bethany Children’s Home in Womelsdorf. These experiences have helped him to come to understand some of the darkest struggles and loudest influences that teenagers have in their lives.

Pastor Stewart and his wife, Joelle, met in Buffalo on a blind date “for coffee.” That cup of coffee eventually led to romance and marriage. Currently, they do not have any children, but look forward to starting a family in the near future. Stewart's passions are focused on assisting others in developing a deeper intimacy with God and developing a healthy identity in Christ.

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