Our Senior Pastor Candidate

Getting to Know your Senior Pastor Candidate

By Rev. Joanne Gilbert-Cannon

David Hood, the Chair-person of the Search Team at First Baptist Church of Rochester, has asked me what I would like to share with all of you by way of introduction. It is customary for Search Teams to send out biographical information and the resume of the candidate they have chosen to present to the congregation. I sincerely appreciate being asked what I would like to share with you as you decide whether or not to affirm my call as your next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff.  If you want my resumé, education/training list, and work experience, I am happy to provide it to anyone who asks. Here I offer just a snapshot of the person known as Joanne Gilbert-Cannon.

I am the wife of James R. Cannon, Jr., loving and sharing with him all the learning and growing a marriage of many years, goes through. He is semi-retired, still involved in education and serves as Assistant Wrestling Coach at Rochester Institute of Technology. Together we have raised, four children who experience all the ups and downs of human beings becoming adults. Our oldest child lives in Michigan and is parent to our three adorable grandchildren. We have three other children living and working nearby. We enjoy our two Maltese/Shih-Tzus.

In seminary a professor stated, that you had to watch a lot of movies to be a great preacher and I took offense to that as I grew up without being allowed to go to movies and didn’t have a television until I was much older. I included a picture to illustrate the bookshelf next to my favorite chair. I love to read. You will see that I have varied and eclectic reading interests and you will hear about what I am reading in my sermons. I read many versions of the bible but I have to say my favorite version is the New International Version. I hope you will read along side of me and that you will share books you love. I can tell you that I love art, the making of it and the study of it. I love all kinds of music (excepting some country, some heavy metal and some hip-hop.) I love the study of words, their origins and meanings. I love children. I refuse to get used to selfies and I struggle to remember to carry my cellphone. (It is not an appendage as we have been led to believe.) Oddly, I get a real kick out of dad jokes.

As I age, the hope of my life and prayer is that my work and practices will be aligned with what I value and believe about Christ’s way of grace and love. I believe strongly, deeply, in the power of prayer.

Some of you will be worried that as the first female Senior Pastor I will be preaching about it all the time. I won’t. This is both exciting for me and very humbling. It is often hard to be the first. I entreat you not to judge me based on my gender but on the work of my ministry among you. I also ask that we covenant to take our mission very seriously, but ourselves not so seriously, with no small amount of humor. We can all practice kindness together.

The first Sunday of my pastorate at Brockport, a woman came to me and said, “This church was here long before you were pastor, and it will be here long after you leave, remember that it is ours, not yours.” While I might have suggested she soften the tone of her comment somehow, she was right with one addition, the church is Christ’s for the glory of God. First Baptist Church Rochester has had a long rich history for years before I will come and our hope is that it will continue for a great many years after I am gone. My prayer is that together, you and I, pastor and congregation, remember that everything we do here at First Baptist of Rochester is for the glory of God.

An Interview with
Senior Pastor Candidate,
Rev. Joanne Gilbert-Cannon

With interviewers: Oliver Hood and Sophia Spooner, and introduction by Dave Hood, Search Committee Chairperson.


Candidate’s Weekend Events



Saturday, October 1

3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
in-person meet and greet reception at the church


Saturday, October 1

6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
remote meet and greet session via church Zoom


Sunday, October 2

10:00 AM
Rev. Gilbert-Cannon preaches 


Sunday, October 2

approx. 11:00am
Special Congregational Meeting

to vote on calling Rev. Gilbert-Cannon
as Senior Pastor


Monday, October 24,2022

If the congregation votes to affirm the call of Rev. Gilbert-Cannon, the date she will officially commence the position.


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