Rich Hong bio
Theologically, perhaps I consider myself to be some form of "neo-orthodox." The "neo" stems from my willingness to explore new ways of looking at theology; "orthodox" because I believe there has to be a line somewhere. Socially and politically I am decidedly left-wing - but that's because I think Jesus was also.
I am presently serving as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood (NJ), a medium-sized church that is thriving within a community that has undergone considerable change. We have a growing morning traditional worship and a budding evening contemporary service (www.englewoodpres.org). I am facing the internal contradiction of really loving modern worship while it seems I have gifts for leading traditional worship. I am still trying to figure that out.
In terms of credentials, my undergraduate degree is from Princeton University, where I majored in chemistry. I then ran my own software business for nearly 20 years, developing tools used by pharmaceutical research scientists. During that time I also served the church in many capacities, running Christian Ed and youth groups in my local church and serving the denomination (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.) at all levels, including a term as moderator of the Presbytery of the Palisades. I then ended up at Union Theological Seminary in NYC, from which I received the M.Div. I enjoy preaching and teaching more than anything else, and spent a couple of years as an adjunct with New Brunswick Theological Seminary, teaching Presbyterian history, worship, and polity. But these days running a church is more than a full-time job.
Somehow, my tech background, opportunities for public speaking in my business life, my experience in observing churches from all levels of the denomination, my love of contemporary Christian music - all of these have come together in my ministry. The common thread is that I love what works. And that's what I hope to share.
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