[FirstChurch Mailing List] We have a support pastor, hallelujah!Edit:
Good Afternoon Beloved,
Our search committee has spent the last month searching for a support pastor to work with us over the next 10 months while Molly is undergoing chemotherapy treatment. We are happy to report that we have completed our work, and have found a very warm, talented and soulful minister in Ian Holland.
Ian will start working with us on July 1st. He will lead worship on July 4, and will be working full-time for our community, in consultation with Molly, until Easter next year. In order to begin to get to know our community, Ian will be present in the next two weeks, perhaps attending Rest and Bread, perhaps attending committee meetings, and finding time to meet with our other staff. He will also introduce himself by email and newsletter, so you can learn something about him.
As a committee we looked closely at many candidates for supply pastor, and were blessed to have felt God's clear guidance in this search. Ian was our first choice, and has unanimous support from the committee and from Molly. We know that God has brought us together for this time.
Thank you for your trust, your prayers of support, and your continued hard work to make our beloved community function as highly as possible in this time of uncertainty and transformation. Please continue to pray that God work through each of us as we move into becoming who God intends us to be, as a community of faith.
Ian Tosh, Moderator
Molly Baskette, Senior Minister
From: Ian Holland.
To the saints, and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, in First Church Somerville.
Grace to you and peace.
I don’t think the Apostle Paul would complain about my reuse of the opening salutation to his letters. I am a recycler after all. I think, had he the chance to visit, he would join me in saying that there is something very special going on in Christ’s name at the corner of College and Francesca in Somerville. Recently, I felt and saw how much worship, church and faith mattered to you all, and how real and connected it was for everyone there. No doubt, these same feelings are shared with the members of your community who could not be there that day. So, on the one hand, as God now places her hand on my shoulder and directs me towards your door as your new Support Pastor, I am truly thankful for the call to serve you. But on the other hand, the circumstances that precipitated this call sure do stink. I wonder what Paul would say about that?
But first, let me tell you a bit about myself. I grew up in Cork City in the south of Ireland, and was raised as a Catholic. My parents and one sister still live in Ireland. Another sibling lives in Washington D.C and the oldest lives in London. No doubt you will notice my Irish accent when I speak, though like the tide, it tends to drift in and out. In 1987 I left Ireland to complete a Ph.D. in computer science at Northeastern University in Boston, and for the next twenty years or so, I worked in software development. About ten years ago I entered into a new relationship with God (though I did not realize it at the time) that has changed my life dramatically, and that now leads me to you. I am married with two teenage children who are now old enough to be embarrassed by their dad. “Please Dad, not in public.” is a phrase that I hear from time to time, though mostly in jest.
I am a life-long student with a deep intellectual curiosity about many different aspects of God’s wonderful creation from science to music and everything in-between. I love learning and delving into issues by reading broadly or by hearing about people’s lived experiences. My own experiences as a parent, husband, immigrant, technologist and minister continue to open me up to a deeper connection with, and appreciation of, the beauty and miracle of our lives together. I love to preach and teach, and I am passionate about finding intellectual, spiritual, and personal connections to the words of scripture, revealing their relevancy for our daily lives. I have a deep respect for the learned work of the saints of our tradition. At the same time, I cherish the words in the preamble to the UCC Constitution that challenge each generation to make this faith our own.
People have described me as an outgoing and gregarious individual, warm and friendly with a rich sense of humor. On this journey of ministry I have also learned to listen, and to be authentic and open with people in times of difficulty. Someone recently said that I had a “pastor’s heart.” With God’s help, I hope to faithfully live into the potential of that evocative and tender affirmation every day of my ministry.
In the months to come, I trust that we will come to know and care for each other, and that we will experience God’s grace, love, wisdom and peace in the ministry we share, even if circumstances stink a bit from time to time. God is good, all the time.
May God bless us all.