The Reverend J.C. Austin will be installed as pastor/head of staff of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem (FPCB) on Sunday, March 4 at 3:00 p.m. The installation service will cap a year-long national search, headed by FPCB and Lehigh Presbytery’s Pastor Nominating Committee, whose decision to issue a formal call to Austin was reviewed and approved by Lehigh Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry and accepted by Austin.
The Reverend J.C. Austin is well-known in the Presbyterian Church (USA), having spoken and taught widely throughout the denomination as well as served on national committees and task forces, most notably the General Assembly’s Special Committee on the Belhar Confession from 2008-2010 and its Middle East Policy Monitoring Group from 2010-2012. He previously served as associate pastor at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City and was a vice president at Auburn Seminary, New York City. Austin is the founder of The Studio for Leadership Arts, a coaching and consulting firm to develop the organizational vision and capacities of faith leaders. He earned his Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary and studied the theological dimensions of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the University of Cape Town.
The installation service will include clergy and leaders from throughout Lehigh Presbytery as well as representatives from the Office of the Stated Clerk, PCUSA, headquartered in Louisville Kentucky, and members of the clergy community in the Lehigh Valley. The Reverend Dr. Thomas K. Tewell, founder of the Macedonian Ministries, Atlanta GA, will deliver the sermon. Special music will be provided by the Chancel Choir and the Hill to Hill Brass Quintet. The service will be followed by a reception in the church’s Fellowship Hall.
The Reverend J.C. Austin was drawn to First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem because “it is a rare opportunity to work with an historic congregation that is re-inventing itself for faithful and effective ministry in the twenty-first century, using that history as a foundation for the future rather than an anchor to the past.”
Lehigh Presbytery is a ministry of Jesus Christ through the Presbyterian Church USA, dedicated to strengthening and supporting the congregations that, by the grace of God, acting through the Holy Spirit, are Jesus’ hands, feet, and heart in the world. The Presbytery is composed of 30 churches in seven counties of eastern PA; as well as, two Arabic fellowships and two worshipping communities, The Barn and Blank Slate.