Alex Shea Will Called to Northeast ACM Post

Alex Shea Will Called to Northeast ACM Post

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Rev. Alex Shea Will, the Associate Pastor of South Church in Andover, MA, for the past six years, has been called to serve as the Area Conference Minister for the Northeast Region - comprising the Metropolitan Boston and Northeast Associations - beginning Aug. 2.

"Throughout my ministry among the various settings of the United Church of Christ, I have faithfully worked to be an agent of change among God’s people. Not for the sake of change alone, but for the sake of helping God’s people and organizations thrive," Rev. Will said in his cover letter applying for the position. "In my six years at South Church, I have been both nurturer and provoker of faithful change." 
 
Rev. Will also serves as moderator of the Northeast Association, which under his leadership developed a catalyst grant program to help churches adapting during the pandemic, launched new cluster groups to enhance covenant partnerships, piloted a new stewardship model to bring the association into alignment with the vision of the Conference, and assisted churches in moments of transition and hardship.

As a member of the Northeast Association and previously the Metropolitan Boston Association, Rev. Will helped set up PATH, a cooperative venture training Christian pastors in practical and adaptive transformational leadership skills. An Andover Newton Theological School graduate, Rev. Will previously served in a variety of positions at Hancock United Church of Christ in Lexington, MA, and Newton Highlands Congregational Church in Newton, MA. 

“I am excited to welcome the Rev. Alex Will to our ACM Team,” said the Rev. Dr. Audrey Price, Executive Minister for Strategic Operations.  “Rev. Will’s experience in transformative ministry particularly in the technological space is a major contribution to our abundantly gifted ACM team. Above all, I am grateful to God for Rev. Will’s pastoral heart out of which his ministry flows and I know this will guide him as an ACM.” 
 
While Rev. Will was called to South Church primarily to focus on small group ministry and adult faith formation, his portfolio grew over the years to include redeveloping the stewardship model, facilitating conversations on racial justice, and leading technology innovation within the church, among other opportunities. He has also worked to bring church outside the walls, launching the Beer & Carols seasonal event at a local brewery and starting the town's first Ashes-to-Go ministry. 

"I'm forever grateful to South Church and my colleagues on staff for the freedom they provided me in my role. As an Associate Pastor with a broad portfolio," he said, "I was able to not only participate in a wide range of ministries, but also dedicate time to thinking creatively and innovatively. I know what a gift that was. As an ACM, I want to bring that same spirit and everything I've learned to our associations."

During the pandemic, Rev. Will has been a leader inside and outside of South Church in re-thinking how to "be church" in ways that would endure once the pandemic is over. He started a Facebook group for progressive church leaders doing digital ministry, and has been a speaker on the topic in a variety of settings. At his church, his leadership led to a seamless transition into hybrid worship, a lasting commitment to this new model, and the embrace of new members and friends from around the country into the life of the church.

To the churches and clergy of the Northeast Region and the wider Conference, Rev. Will said: "Early on in my tenure, I bought my colleague a mug that said 'we can do hard things.' Through the highs and lows of ministry, I've carried that saying with me. I look forward to the opportunity to grow and serve with each of you, trusting that no matter what we face, with the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, we can do hard things, too."

"I look forward to joining you in worship, celebrating what God is doing in your midst, and discovering how I can partner with you to help you live the love and justice of Jesus in your communities," he said. 

Rev. Holly MillerShank is currently serving as the Interim Conference Minister in the region, and will remain in that position until Rev. Will begins.

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