We have found our new pastor

Brothers, Sisters and Friends of Burlington Presbyterian Church,

It was almost exactly a year ago that your Pastor Nominating Committee was formed. Seven of us were tapped for service: Chuck Anderson, Judy Brunner, Kim Oey-Rosenthal, Brad Morrison, Ferdinand Akombe, Brenda Flynn and Caitlin Rivet. We spent our first few months working diligently on our Mission Information Form (https://burlingtonpres.org/beourpastor/). We carefully crafted our call out to pastors, and in February we were reading our first applications. We read a lot of applications. By my count, the committee has carefully read 131 applications. We’ve met as a committee over 50 times. We interviewed candidates with a video call 23 times. A handful of those candidates, we invited to hour-long conversations. And three times we’ve dedicated a full weekend to really getting to know a pastor – eating with them, interviewing them, driving them from Stoneham to Lowell, and listening to them preach. We’ve talked with candidates from California, Iowa, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. We’ve asked and answered hundreds of questions. We’ve thought deeply about our church, our calling, and what our next steps of the journey would look like.

So it is with great pride and pleasure that I tell you – we have found and invited the pastor we believe God intends to lead us in the next phase of our journey together. That pastor is our own dear Pastor Trina!

We are very excited that this is the case. The PNC didn’t make this decision lightly, nor did Trina. Much prayer and discernment happened on both sides. Over the last year, while we’ve been searching, our congregation has been blossoming in new and exciting ways. Our worship has been growing and evolving, with new sounds and music. Our partnership with the Boston Grace Korean Church has brought vibrancy. Our missions are evolving and enlivening. We’re doing some really neat things together. We are looking forward to even more of that, as we continue to follow God’s calling together in new and unexpected ways. We can already see how well we work together as pastor and congregation, and we think the future is even brighter.

We have asked Trina to take on the role of our pastor, and she has agreed. There are still a few steps to be taken, however.

Candidating Sunday & Congregational Meeting (12 pm), December 17th – In most circumstances, a congregation would not know their new pastor as well as you all know Pastor Trina. Usually the candidating Sunday would be your first chance to meet and hear the new pastor speak. Although hopefully you’ve already had ample opportunity, we are following (and have followed!) the full process for calling a new pastor, including this specific candidating sermon on December 17th. Come and listen with new ears!

After the worship service (and coffee hour) our excellent Committee on Ministry liaison Jane Wilson will lead a congregation meeting, at which we’d like as many voting members as possible to attend. Non-members are welcome to be present, but will not be able to vote. We’ll be taking a counted-ballot vote on approving the Terms of Call for Pastor Trina (which we’ll provide significantly in advance). Mark your calendars!

Presbytery Vote, January 20, 2018 – Once you, the congregation, approve a pastor’s call, the final approval comes from Presbytery. At the Saturday meeting on January 20th, we’re planning to be on the agenda to have our call ratified by the Presbytery. While we are calling a pastor, the Presbytery is affirming a colleague. The Committee on Ministry has already interviewed Pastor Trina and passed on a glowing recommendation, and Pastor Trina is already a member of Presbytery. Hopefully this will be a celebratory vote!

Service of Installation, planned February 4, 2018 3 – 5:30 pm – The very last phase of our journey is a grand party! On this Sunday in early February, we will invite Presbytery to worship and celebrate with us as make official Pastor Trina’s role as our teaching elder. We will mark the end of one phase of our life as a congregation as we move joyously into the future God has ordained for us. If you are at all interested in helping out with this incredibly special day, session is putting a team together for the party planning. We do know this is Superbowl Sunday, but promise that this celebration will make your heart glad.

If you have any questions about the process – what we have done to come to this decision or what needs to yet be done – please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of the PNC.

Rejoice with us for this excellent news!

Brenda Flynn
Chair, Pastor Nominating Committee
Presbyterian Church of Burlington
http://burlingtonpres.org

Welcome to Reverend Michael O’Brien!

To the congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Burlington:

The Interim Search Committee, having met nine times, reviewed the qualifications of five candidates, three of whom were interviewed directly. We also wrote a position description, interview and reference questions and terms of call for the position of Interim Pastor.

We are pleased to announce that our unanimous choice, Rev. Michael J. O’Brien, was appointed as our Interim Pastor beginning on August 19, 2014 by vote of the Presbytery of Boston held at our church on August 18, 2014.

Rev. O’Brien is a graduate of Gettysburg College, holds an M.Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a MSW degree from Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work. He did his Basic Clinical Pastoral Education unit at Worcester State Hospital and completed 4 Advanced units of Clinical Pastoral Education in a Chaplaincy Residency program at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, CA. He has served as either Senior Pastor, Pastor, Assistant/Associate Pastor or Interim Associate Pastor at four Presbyterian churches in New Jersey and Maryland from 1977 to 2009. From July, 2010 to July, 2014, he served as Chaplain at Beacon Hospice in Plymouth, MA, having been Chaplain at Sutter Medical Center for the prior year.

The Interim Search Committee did reference checks on Rev. O’Brien and all were found to be very satisfactory. Our direct interview with him revealed a very competent, enthusiastic and compassionate individual committed to serving the whole church in its many facets. His preaching, which we viewed on YouTube, was lively and presented the Gospel in a relevant and personal way. He is an effective administrator and has a true gift for empathic listening We would encourage all to introduce themselves to Mike, and his wife Pam, in the coming Sundays.

– The Interim Search Committee