Boston, Massachusetts - Old South Church in Boston, a historic and vibrant 354 year old congregation of the United Church of Christ, announced the call of Reverend John Marlow Edgerton as its 21st Senior Minister. The momentous decision took place on Sunday, June 25, 2023, during a congregational meeting that saw an overwhelming show of support from the members.
Rev. Edgerton's call follows a year-long discernment process, carefully undertaken by the Senior Minister Search Committee of 14 church members. Maren Batalden, who served as the Search Committee Chair, said, "From a pool of strong and diverse candidates, John emerged as the candidate best equipped to serve the church at this moment -- in worship, in leading a large and complex organization, in building community, and in championing social justice. We worked hard in the process of discernment to listen for God's still speaking voice and are eager to see what -- with John's partnership -- God has in store for us."
Guided by the principles of inclusivity, transparency, and community engagement, the Senior Minister Search Committee meticulously reviewed applications and conducted extensive interviews with highly qualified candidates. The committee prioritized finding a minister who could honor the church's rich history while guiding it into a bold future rooted in justice, compassion, and spiritual growth.
From the start of the discernment process, Old South Church actively sought input from its congregation, inviting members to share their hopes and desires for the next Senior Minister. A committee organized town hall meetings, small group discussions, and surveys, ensuring that the collective voice of the community shaped the search process.
Sunday’s special congregational meeting on the topic saw rich and dynamic discussion from members young and old. The discussion concluded with a congregational vote, which yielded near-unanimous results in favor. Having emerged as the clear choice through this collaborative and democratic process, Rev. Edgerton will begin his role as the 21st Senior Minister this September.
Rev. John Edgerton is well-known to Old South Church in Boston, having served as their Associate Minister from 2012-2019. Since then, Rev. Edgerton went on to serve as the Senior Minister for First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois. He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and of the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Much of Rev. Edgerton’s focus in ministry has been on the way Christians live their faith outside the walls of the church. His work in Illinois leading his congregation through a Lenten series on “Fasting from Whiteness” attracted national and international attention in 2022. His experience has earned him a leadership role in the national UCC, supporting churches to take prophetic action against racism and for LGBTQ inclusion. Rev. Edgerton’s deep commitment to social justice, intellectual rigor, and unwavering compassion resonated strongly with the congregation. Furthermore, his exceptional pastoral skills and dedication to fostering an inclusive and nurturing community were recognized as invaluable assets to the church's ongoing mission.
Old South Church, founded in 1669, stands as a beacon of faith, community, and progressive Christian values in Boston. The call of Rev. Edgerton signifies an exciting new chapter in the church's history, as the congregation looks forward to his inspired leadership and shared vision. Together, Old South Church and Rev. Edgerton will continue to make a profound impact on the city of Boston and beyond.