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Strong connections between church and school will continue as Grace Polaris announces new lead pastor

Worthington Christian School’s rich fifty-year history is inseparably rooted in the history of Grace Polaris Church. It was Grace’s (then “Grace Brethren Church”) leaders in the late 1960s and 70s, shepherded by Pastor Jim Custer, who felt called by God to open a Christian day school. Many of Grace’s staff members have also served the school in administrative and teaching roles throughout WC’s fifty-year history. Though the school became a separate legal entity in 2010, the relationship between the church and the school remains as strong as ever. The school’s by-laws outline that four members of its Board of Directors be upstanding members of Grace Polaris church, including the Lead Pastor as an ex-officio member. In honor of this longstanding and deeply rooted relationship between the church and school, WC joins Grace Polaris in welcoming Zac Hess as its new Lead Pastor. 

A native of Ashland County and long-time member of the Charis Fellowship denomination, Pastor Hess first found himself in Central Ohio in 2007. An undergraduate student at Grace College at the time, Hess was invited to a summer internship at Grace Brethren Church by the then-lead pastor David Plaster. Over that summer, Hess met many people within the school and church communities, including WC’s high school principal Tom Anglea (for whom the Upper School is now named). Inarguably one of the most important people he met that summer, though, was Anglea’s daughter Sarah. Following his initial summer internship, Zac and Sarah began dating. They married in 2010, and Hess began seminary studies shortly thereafter. A few months later, Tom Anglea was diagnosed with brain cancer. Zac and Sarah made the decision to move back to Columbus to care for him early in 2012, where Hess re-joined Grace’s staff as an intern while he finished his seminary work long-distance. The next year, he completed his seminary degree and joined Grace’s staff full-time as the Young Adults Pastor.  

In addition to his interactions with and knowledge of WC through his personal and pastoral connections, Hess became directly involved with the school as the middle school golf coach in 2013. He began to develop relationships with the small-but-capable group of middle school boys on the team in his first coaching season. As those boys grew into high school, Hess transitioned to serving as the school’s varsity golf coach. It was that same group of golfers that Hess led to the state championship in 2017. He served as the Warriors golf coach for a total of nine seasons. Over the last ten years, he has also enjoyed direct connections with WC as a regular chapel speaker.  

In more recent years, he has become even more acquainted with the school as his children have begun their formal academic studies. Their oldest son Jake is now a second grader, and their second oldest, Caroline, is a Kindergartener this year. Hess explains, “Having our kids in school has been a great way of getting to know other school families.” Zac and Sarah enjoy taking their young family into the Upper School building. Zac explains that their children are old enough now to understand that the building is named after their grandfather, and they can see his portrait featured at the school entrance. He and Sarah use these opportunities to tell their children stories of their grandfather and his impact on others. 

Zac says, “I have a deep sense of honor in being associated with the Anglea clan. It is a rich blessing to tell our kids stories of Tom’s legacy. He modeled, with his life and words, the best of commitment and service, both to WC and to the local church. He was committed to the relationship between the school and church as a true partnership. To be a part of that legacy is a true privilege.” 

As he steps into the role of Lead Pastor at Grace, Hess describes that he has high hopes of carrying on the beautiful, historical partnership that the school and church have shared and which his father-in-law modeled. For him, the key to this partnership is intentionally fostering relationships. He sees WC as a “Kingdom blessing.” As such, there is a particular stewardship that comes in maintaining strong relationships between the church and the school. He personally hopes to be a source of encouragement to the school and longs to see it flourish.  

WC’s 50th Anniversary coincides with the church’s 60-year anniversary. Pastor Hess shares that such momentous occasions remind him of the Jews of long ago, celebrating Passover each year. God’s people participated in this annual celebration to remind themselves of God’s faithfulness. Hess suggests, “This is a chance for all of us to renew our trust in the LORD and a re-commitment to the guiding principles and convictions of the school.” As WC remains true to God’s Word and ways, may it continue to thrive over the next 50 years.  

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