2017-10-19 / Community News

Union Church changes leaderhip

Union Church of Biddeford Pool welcomes Rev. Paula Norbert as its new pastor, the position held by Rev. Jan Hryniewicz, who served as pastor for 15 years and was the Courier’s “Great Person 2015”.

Rev. Norbert was first attracted to Union Church by the Courier’s article on Hryniewicz as its Great Person 2015.

“I recall being so impressed by the description of (Hryniewicz’s) work there (and) the emphasis she had put on laughter and joy,” Norbert said.

Hryniewicz described her ministry at Union Church as being “mission oriented” but also a “happy place” with lively music and humor, inspiring church members to do charitable work. Over her 15 years, the congregation grew ten-fold.

Norbert intends to build on that legacy as well as on her own work in ministry, which she said, “has always been directly tied to concern for the least among us, in our local and global community” and, finally, on her “belief that our faith requires us to do the work of justice.”

She was pastor of First Congregational Church/Kennebunkport where she served since 2015, and was Inter- faith Chaplain at The Pines/Ocean Park since 2013. She holds advanced degrees in Education (Harvard) and Theology (Weston Jesuit School of Theology, now Boston College). In addition to her pastoral work, she has wide-ranging experience including directing educational programs in churches, ministry in university and hospital settings; collaborating with interfaith programs and leading domestic and international service trips (Appalachia, Nicaragua and Ecuador) for post-graduate interns in ministry.

“I am delighted to serve Union Church as their next pastor, and I feel both privileged and blessed to have been called to walk with this dynamic community of faith,” she said.

Norbert is immediately preceded by Rev. Nancy Bancroft who served as Union Church’s interim minister for 19 months, for which she was eminently qualified, having undergraduate concentrations in psychology and theology and a Ph.D. in Ethics.

According to church moderator Paul Schlaver, “What made and makes Bancroft an outstanding transition leader are her personal qualities of fellowship, creativity, humor and compassion. Our entire congregation applauds her outstanding leadership. Union Church could not have been better served.”

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