Photo by Michael Isabell
Ben Larson-Wolbrink was called to be Pastor of Beacon’s First Presbyterian Church exactly 10 years ago. Since then his congregation has seen 20 marriages, 31 baptisms, 40 deaths and 50 new members.
In this interview, he talks about the life of his congregation and Beacon’s interfaith initiatives, among many other topics.
“It took a convergence of forces just to get us in the same room,” he says of the city’s interfaith partnerships. “It’s very extracurricular. Everyone’s got their community that they’re tending.”
The effort was assisted by Ben’s relationship with Rabbi Brent Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance. “We formed a quick friendship, an easy friendship.”
They started small, with an art show and a class focused on the first three chapters from the Book of Genesis. The Book of Exodus and the Book of Psalms followed. New churches joined in.
“In my background, there’s usually the regular players in these things – which are the progressive people who look just like you or think just like you,” Pastor Ben says. “This was the first time, and one of the few times in Beacon other than public events, when people are gathered and talking substantively with people from very different world views and very different cultural and economic backgrounds.”