The Staff Team
Sean earned his Masters degree at Drew Theological School studying with the likes of Leonard Sweet and Catherine Keller. His studies focused on worship, arts, and rites-of-passage and his theological interests led him to also study at St. Vladimire's Theological Seminary (NY) with Paul Meyendorff and Peter Bouteneff. Sean's work reflects these interests, especially with adolescents and with music.
Sean spent nearly 20 years years working with adolescents and was a founding staff member and Associate Minister at Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT and the founder of their student ministries, which actively involved more than 200 middle school, high school, and college students on a weekly basis. Sean led numerous trips of 50-75 students to serve in places like Mexico, Belize, and the Dominican Republic and developed leadership and rites-of-passage programs which were offered annually. In addition to his work with Trinity, he spent many years volunteering with Young Life and FOCUS and earned a Certificate in Youth and Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Sean has been a long time contributor to what has been called emerging/emergent/emergence Christianity. Since arriving in Newton, he has hosted events with Brian McLaren, Peter Rollins, and Xochitl Alvizo, and is a contributor to the Patheos Emergent Village blog.
Musically, Sean has been a guitarist and singer-songwriter since the age of ten. He studied at the Berklee College of Music (MA) and earned a BA in Music and Sound Recording and a BA in English Literature at the University of New Haven (CT). For many years, Sean honed his skills as a musical director working alongside Grammy winning composer, arranger, and orchestrator Rob Mathes. His credits include recordings with Vanessa Williams, Steve Green, and Tim Janis, and he has shared the stage with Michael McDonald, Dave Brubeck, David Sanborn, Bashiri Johnson, Mike Davis (Rolling Stones) and Andy Snitzer (Paul Simon). Sean is grateful to work as often as he can with his wife, singer and actress Lynn Witty, who often sings at the church. Together, they have performed and led worship in hundreds of venues, on national television, and for audiences as large as 3000.
Sean, Lynn and their three boys moved to Newton in August 2011 with Sean becoming the Senior Minister at First Baptist that August. “The people at First Baptist drew me here - smart, compassionate, and eager continue their legacy as a forward thinking church. 'Church' as we’ve known it is inviting us into an era of unprecedented collaboration, vibrancy and relevance. The folks at First Baptist are eager to accept this invitation and pioneer some new ways of becoming church. It’s an exciting time to be here.”
When you visit on a Sunday morning, Sean is happy to meet you at the door with a cup of coffee (or favorite morning libation). Just email him and tell him you’re coming.
Kate Hilliker joins the FBC community as the Office Manager overseeing organizational activities, facilities management and administrative support. Kate’s professional experience includes 18 years in marketing and program management for non-profits and Fortune 500 companies, as well as independent philanthropic initiatives. She is also a mother of two children.