THE REV. DR. THOMAS EVANS Our New Senior Pastor & Faithful Leader
PNC NOMINATION Dear Members of The Brick Presbyterian Church, We are overjoyed to nominate the Rev. Dr. Thomas Evans as the 14th Senior Pastor of The Brick Presbyterian Church. Over the past 15 months, we have had the privilege of meeting and connecting with many outstanding pastors from across the country and abroad. After considering more than 120 candidates, it was the clear, unanimous, and enthusiastic agreement of your Pastor Nominating Committee that God is calling Tom Evans to serve the Brick Church. We first met Tom in person last fall and were immediately drawn to his joyful spirit, humble leadership, and deep theological foundation. As we came to know Tom, we listened to many of his inspiring, thought-provoking sermons and saw him preach, both in his home church in Spartanburg and at Brick during his visit to New York. Along with numerous Zoom interviews and conversations, Tom led us in a spiritually moving Bible study during the height of the pandemic. We came to admire his administrative strengths and, in particular, the robust programming that has blossomed under his leadership as Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC. For the past eight years, Tom has skillfully led this vibrant congregation of 2300 members, with a strong preschool and extensive church programming. In addition to three worship services each Sunday, there are church events every day of the week, from mission outreach initiatives in the community to multiple Bible studies and educational programs to fellowship gatherings. Tom has grown the Wednesday fellowship dinner to serve more than 350 church members each week. Tom’s administrative experience, strategic vision, and inclusive leadership style will serve us well as we develop a plan to move the Brick Church forward. We enthusiastically anticipate the many opportunities for Brick to grow under Tom’s leadership, from increased programming and educational opportunities to mission work in our city and beyond. Tom’s guidance will deepen our own personal faith journeys and help build spiritual vitality within our congregation. We are grateful for your prayers and patience, as well as for God’s constant guidance throughout our search, one made more difficult and complicated amidst this global pandemic. It has been an honor and privilege to serve and represent our church in this process, one that has reaffirmed our hope and aspirations for our beloved church as we look to the future. Tom and his wife, Wendy, will be joining us in September. Their son, Matt, will be with them in New York until he can return to Dartmouth’s campus; their daughter, Liz, works in Spartanburg and will be a frequent visitor to New York. We are excited to begin the next chapter of our church’s journey and for the opportunities The Brick Presbyterian Church will have to serve our community and this great city. Faithfully yours, Pam Dickson Thorpe, Chair Henry Barkhorn Sarah Blais
Shelby Carroll David Darst Charlie Higgins
Helen Lynch Helen Pennoyer David Wells
We enthusiastically anticipate the many opportunities for Brick to grow under Tomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leadership.
TOMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S JOURNEY TO THE BRICK CHURCH
Very early on, Tom was exposed to justice and community transformation work in Brazil, which remains a key component of his ministry today. He founded both the Alabama Faith Council and Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance.
Seven members of Tomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family have graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary. Tom is also a graduate of The College of William and Mary (1989) where he earned an B.A. in Mathematics.
Before his leadership in Atlanta, Tom served in pastoral roles in churches in Idaho (1994), Arkansas (1996), and upstate New York (2000), and as Executive Presbyter in Birmingham, AL (2005).
Born in Campinas, Brazil to missionary parents and is a third-generation Presbyterian minister.
Graduated with a Master of Divinity (1994) and Doctor of Ministry (2003) from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Selected as Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, the largest presbytery in the PC (USA).
First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg has a congregation of 2300 members with vibrant programming, extensive mission work, and a strong preschool.
This was a seminal event in Tom’s life and reaffirmed for him the truth of Saint Augustine’s words “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” During this time, Tom gained a profound sense of clarity on God’s call for his life.
Tom’s life has come full circle, as he spent his early childhood on the Upper West Side, where his mother served as Associate Pastor at Broadway Presbyterian Church. She was the first installed female Presbyterian pastor in New York City and later, the first woman to serve as chaplain of Columbia University.
Selected as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff for First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
On Sabbatical, embarked upon a spiritual journey backpacking through the Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks.
Faithfully called to serve as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff at The Brick Presbyterian Church.
MESSAGE FROM TOM Dear Members of the Brick Church, What a privilege it has been to journey with your PNC for the past months. They have done an amazing job conveying a congregation of warmth, rich traditions, treasured worship, focused study, and passion for Christ. In many ways, I feel as if God has been preparing me for this call my entire life, while also offering me the chance to finally return home. I spent most of my first decade living and spending time in New York: my mother was the Associate Pastor at Broadway Presbyterian Church and chaplain at Columbia University, and my father was a professor at Union Seminary. I have many fond memories of those times. But it is your congregation that has truly captured my sense of call. The soul of any congregation is found in its worship. Your exceptional music and deeply reverent traditions reflect my own passion for worship as the source of that which strengthens us for service in Christâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name. Worship should be a launching pad that sets the frame for all the rest of the life of the church. Your Ministry Information Form conveys a yearning for spiritual growth, wider community engagement, increased stewardship, and deeper relationships with one another, all in the name of Christ. My ministry has reflected these priorities and I pray that together, we can discover how Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spirit will drive us into an ever more faithful and loving witness in the name of Christ. My time as an Executive Presbyter in Alabama and Georgia developed my administrative and financial management skills. I learned about church vitality and growth, as this role showed me the wide range of what makes congregations vital and strong. Serving First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC for the past eight years has been the most amazing privilege and joy of my twenty-six years in ministry. This congregation has taught me far more than I have given them, as I witnessed the power of a community of believers forged by mutual love for Christ energized into faithful and fervent mission in the world. Most recently, my sabbatical project, How the Church Can Help People Experience God, helped me understand the key factors that enable congregations to connect people to the divine, both frequently and in a powerful way. This book shares insights gathered through listening to people of faith from around the country and conducting a survey in my home church in Spartanburg.
I feel as if God has been preparing me for this call my entire life, while also offering me the chance to return home.
This sabbatical time of focused study and prayer grew my love for God, deepened my awe of the power of faith in the heart of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people, and challenged me to become ever more vulnerable in my walk with God, to be made manifest in my preaching and teaching. It is all my experiences and faith life that I humbly offer to you. Finally, more than budgets, buildings and programs, a congregation is people. Should you call me as your pastor, I would count it a tremendous privilege to grow in faith with you as we forge loving friendships in the name of Christ. Blessings in your deliberations, Your friend in Christ, Tom Evans
STATEMENT OF FAITH Overflowing with love, God created the cosmos and blessed humankind by fashioning us in the divine image. We were made to “Glorify God and enjoy [God] forever” and to care for this precious world, but we rebelled against God and this sin resulted in separation from God and death. Yet, God did not abandon us, but reached out to us with the only begotten Son that we might have life and have it abundantly. Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, sets a pattern for Holy living and leads us to repent and be reconciled to God through his death and resurrection. Despite the complete and perfect sacrifice of Christ, we are not without sin. The actualization of the total healing of all creation is yet to come. At that final time Christ will come again. Knowing that Christ will come again we are free, through faith and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, from self-concern. The Holy Spirit encourages believers to come together to worship. We gather to praise God for all God has done. We also gather so that God may empower us to go out into the world and spread the message of love. The church is not cloistering and protective but bold and outward.
The church does not exist for its own sake but was created to be a vehicle to bring the world into the body of Christ. This is done both because Christ commanded it and because our inner nature compels us to care for one another. By being involved in social justice we follow Christ’s example as seen in His healing ministry. Our church recognizes two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. God is uniquely present to us in these experiences. The Lord's Supper brings us back, through the power of the Spirit to those crucial times of Christ's life. In it, we remember Christ's life, death, and resurrection and through the power of the Spirit we taste our redemption and give thanks. In Baptism, we are cleansed of sin, embraced by Christ, and welcomed into the family of faith, the church.
Scripture is the unique, authoritative, living word of God. Its pages open us up to the presence of God, tell us the history of God’s relationship with the world, and teach us how to live as faithful disciples of Christ. Joel prophesied that someday the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh and at Pentecost this took place for the disciples. Today, all members of the church have been blessed by the Spirit with gifts for ministry. God charges us all to use these gifts for building the Kingdom of God on earth.
GIFTS & STRENGTHS Preaching and Worship Leadership Tom is a consistently effective preacher and worship leader. He is able to inspire from the pulpit and communicate a clear and consistent message through sermons that are carefully prepared and artfully delivered. Spiritual Maturity Tom shows strong personal depth and spiritual grounding. He demonstrates integrity by walking the talk and by responding with faithfulness of purpose. He is seen by others as trustworthy and authentic, nurtures a rich spiritual life, and seeks the wisdom and guidance of appropriate mentors. He is able to articulate a clear and consistent theology. Organizational Agility Tom is astute about how congregations and other organizations work. He knows how to get things done through formal and informal channels and understands the importance of supporting good policy, practice, and procedure. He appreciates the power in the culture of a congregation. Strategy and Vision Tom sees ahead clearly, keeping focused on the larger picture. He can anticipate future consequences and trends accurately and casts a compelling and inspired vision for a preferred future. Interpersonal Engagement Tom displays a consistent ability to build solid relationships of trust and respect inside and outside of the organization, engage people, organizations, and partners in developing goals, executing plans, and delivering results.
He is exactly what you wantâ&#x20AC;Śhe is a deep thinker, intellectually sound, and spiritually focused.
WORDS FROM OTHERS “He is exactly what you want – he has gravitas and substance. He is a deep thinker, intellectually sound, and spiritually focused.” George Wirth, Senior Pastor Emeritus First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA
“I have worked closely with Tom Evans both at Princeton Seminary and at the congregation in Spartanburg, SC. His gifts as a preacher, leader, administrator, and most of all a pastor are abundant. He is theologically driven, but with a keen eye to find the Gospel in the midst of the contemporary challenges the church is facing today.” Craig Barnes, President Princeton Theological Seminary
“As we reach the end of our journey as a Pastor Nominating Committee, we thank our Congregation for your support and prayers. The Holy Spirit has led us to Tom, and Tom to the Brick Church. We look to a future filled with hope and renewed vision.” Pam Dickson Thorpe, Chair The Brick Church Pastor Nominating Committee
THE EVANS FAMILY Tom and his wife, Wendy, have two children, Liz and Matthew. Wendy received a B.A. from the College of William & Mary, where she met Tom. She also has a M.A. in Counseling from Rider University, and a M.A. in Library Science from the University of Alabama. She is a librarian and excited about the multitude of libraries in New York. She has worked as a youth director, children’s ministry director, schoolteacher and more. Wendy has an artist’s heart and mind and wrote worship liturgy for the Birmingham General Assembly of the PC (USA). Liz recently completed her Masters of Public Administration at Clemson and works as a development manager at a public health organization in Spartanburg. She completed fifty two hikes last year, including the Narrows with Tom at Zion National Park during his 2019 sabbatical. Matt is a rising junior and straight A student at Dartmouth College, majoring in Philosophy. An aspiring writer, he loves movies and wants to be a screen writer. Outside of his ministry, Tom is an avid golfer (six handicap) and enjoys reading science fiction and listening to science lectures. He has taken a few singing lessons and sung a few solos in worship from Handel’s Messiah. His sabbatical research project book, Pathways to God, should be published in August.