UCC Welcomes First Female Lead Pastor

Shintell Izquierdo joined Upper Columbia Conference in September as the first female lead pastor in conference history, leading the Wapato Spanish, Granger Spanish and Central Valley Spanish church district.

“Shintell was employed as a Bible worker for a short period of time in our church,” said Lowell Cooper, former General Conference vice president and member of the Pasco Riverview Church. “She quickly won the hearts of the members and was loved by people of all ages. I have the highest confidence that she will fulfill with distinction her calling to ministry. I applaud the Upper Columbia Conference for extending to her the invitation to be the lead pastor in a district.”

Izquierdo was born into an Adventist home and is the daughter of immigrant parents.

“My father is from Mexico and my mother is Tejana,” she shared. “I pride myself in being a Chicana. My parents worked hard growing up and, as a result, I saw their Christ-like example and the Holy Spirit’s care through them. I fell in love with Jesus at a young age. At the age of 12 I knew I wanted to be a pastor and work with Hispanic churches. My parents and brother have always been supportive and have encouraged me along the way.”

Izquierdo graduated from Walla Walla University with a degree in theology in 2016. From there, she worked at Pasco Riverview Church until she accepted a call to be a missionary in Costa Rica in 2017. Upon her return from Costa Rica, she received an opportunity to be a pastoral intern at Kettering Adventist Church. Since then, Izquierdo has been continuing her education by working on her Master of Divinity from Andrews University and will graduate in December of this year. Izquierdo has many years of experience working in ministry and was most excited about living out her dream.

“I’m excited to work with people and encourage them to walk closely with God,” she said, “to give Bible studies and teach others about God’s Word. I’m excited to preach, to cast vision and together work towards the mission.”

Izquierdo has previously served at Walla Walla University as part of the Hispanic ministries team and Women’s dorm chaplain under Paddy McCoy, now lead pastor for Crosswalk Portland.

“I have often said that Shintell has some of the best pastoral instincts of any young adult I have ever worked with, and that’s in 23 years of ministry,” McCoy shared. “She is kind, caring, and committed to the way of Jesus. She is willing to push where push is needed, listen when listening is critical and make tough choices when tough choices must be made in order to care for the flock. I am so excited that she has a place to serve.”

As part of her work in UCC, Izquiero has been given a commissioned minister license in accordance with General Conference working policy.

“Serving at Wapato, Granger, Central Valley District feels unreal,” said Izquierdo. “All I wanted was a place at the table with other pastors, so I could have the opportunity to work full time in introducing others to Jesus. All those years of waiting, and now I see God really did have a plan. God is good!”

Featured in: November/December 2022