Interim Pastor and Head of Staff: Rev. Dr. James R. Berger
Rev. Dr. James Berger is an Honorably Retired member of Peace River Presbytery. Originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Dr. Berger received his BA from Westminster College in Pennsylvania, and his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He was ordained in 1975 as a pastor of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He was awarded his Doctor of Ministry in 1988 from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
During his 46 years in the ministry, he served in extremely diverse settings. He began as the Associate Pastor of the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church (Yes, Beverly Hills 90210). From there he went to Petersburg, Alaska as a mission pastor, serving for 15 years on an island 1000 miles north of Seattle. In 1993 he accepted a call from the Church of Scotland to serve at the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk in Nassau, The Bahamas, a multicultural, multiracial and multinational congregation.
In 2002 he became the New Church Development Associate at First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, and in 2004 led the creation of Hope United Presbyterian Church (now the Estero Community Church). After retirement in 2015, he served 5 years as Stated Supply pastor for First Presbyterian Church of Lehigh Acres.
An accomplished guitarist and singer, Jim also enjoys scuba diving, fishing, cooking and gardening. He is married to photographer Patricia Downey, and he has two sons, Ben and Will.
Office Administrator: Denise Armstrong
Our Office Administrator hails from South Carolina. She comes from a strong military family. Denise has an extensive back-ground working with nonprofits and volunteer groups and brings that same experience and enthusiasm to our Chapel community. Her favorite pastimes are cooking and growing fresh vegetables.
Darren Harkulich, our new Sexton at Chapel by the Sea, started in April. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, he began working as a bagger in a grocery store and worked his way up to store manager. After that, he started his own cleaning business. Married, with 2 grown boys, he and his family moved to FL in 2015. Some of Darren’s hobbies include sports, music and being active.