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Rev. Andrew Clark Burr

Andy Burr

Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and Jesus the Christ our redeemer. Hi, everybody! A few words of introduction… I began my professional career in accounting, finance and administration before recognizing and accepting God’s call to ordained ministry. Yes, it seems an odd transition. And there’s more to that story, of course, which I’m happy to chat about it over a cup of coffee or around the fire pit. I graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in 2000 with a Master of Divinity degree. I chose the five-year plan, continuing to work as I studied. Over the course of my ministry, I’ve served five churches: Worcester, Lunenburg, Ashby, Gardner and Southborough, starting at the First Congregational Church in Worcester as a Licensed Pastor in 1997 while still in seminary. After the first two settled pastorates, I followed the call to intentional interim ministry in Ashby, Gardner and Southborough. I’ve also served as the Chaplain to the Lunenburg Fire and Police Departments and as a member of the Montachusett Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) since 2003. It’s truly one of the greatest joys of my ministry. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it transforms lives, including mine. It’s said, “When we show up, folks are having their worst day.” That, indeed, is true. I find it exhilarating because it allows me to make a real difference in people’s lives using my unique gifts and skills. 2000 was a big year in our family! In addition to graduating from seminary in May, I was ordained in June. 

In June and July my wife and I made two trips to Pskov, Russia. The first was to meet our daughters, then 3½ and 2½ years old. The second trip was to adopt them and bring them home to Worcester—a new family created by love. We traveled back to Pskov in August, 2011, to “live as the Russian folks live” in the city of our daughters’ birth. Again, more on this story, if you’re interested, over coffee or around the fire pit. My wife, the Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith, and I met, as I like to say, “in the back row of New Testament class with bad attitudes.” She prefers to be called Karen Nell (two words, one name). She’s currently serving as Associate Pastor of Faith Formation and Outreach at Edwards Congregational Church in Framingham. She is also deeply committed to interfaith dialogue as coordinator of the Journey of the Spirit program of Open Spirit Center. Since 2002, our family has lived in Lunenburg way out in “central Massachusetts hill country,” about an hour and fifteen minutes up 495 then West out Route 2. In COVID times, our daughters, Mattie, 24, and Connie, 23, live at home which is a joy for Karen Nell and me. (I’m pretty sure they don’t share in that joy.) They fill their time with academic pursuits, jobs, pets (lots of pets) and spending time with friends. Mattie has loved horses for 20 years, and Connie has a similar passion about working with kids. I’m sure all this COVID togetherness is too much for them. Since they’re young adults, I’m doing my best not to refer to them as “the girls.” Old habits die hard. In our down time, Karen Nell and I love to travel, spend time with extended family, read, cook and host friends in our home (missing that a lot in these days), keeping up with our 1830 home. That theoretical down time comes after caring for our mothers, 92 and 98, for whom we are the primary caregivers. Allow me to share a bit of advice. As I am writing this, Connie is in the room with me making suggestions about what to include. Perhaps her most accurate bit of wisdom is this, “look past the angry eyebrows; he’s very easy to talk to.” I hope you’re as excited as I am as we look forward to the beginning of our mutual ministry and journey through this interim time. Looking forward to the 15th!