North River Community Church
Helping people who are far from God become fully developed worshipers and servants of Christ.
Paul Atwater was our founding pastor when North River was launched in 1989 and continues to serve as our Senior Pastor. After growing up on the South Shore, he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois, and Denver Seminary in Colorado. Paul is an avid reader, regularly diving into books on leadership, church history, and military history. He has a passion for communicating God’s grace and love to people who did not grow up with strong church connections. Paul and Susan have been married since 1981, with two grown daughters. He also teaches each month at the Thursday Morning Men’s Breakfast at the Union Club in Boston, is a contributing editor for Leadership Journal, serves on Wheaton College’s Leadership Council, and serves on the steering team for Greater Things For Greater Boston, a group of urban and suburban church leaders who are committed to changing how our community sees and talks about the church. Paul can be reached by phone at 781-826-0722 ext. 104 or by email Paul Atwater.
Todd grew up on the South Shore, and is a graduate of Duxbury High School. He graduated from Gordon College in Wenham, MA, with a degree in Youth Ministries, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Christian Leadership at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Todd has faithfully served in ministry for twenty years in various churches throughout New England. He is gifted in leadership development, intentional shepherding, team building and teaching.
The best part about Todd is his family. He and his wife, Jayme, have been married nineteen years, and they have two daughters, Reilly and Peyton, and Maizie, a Chocolate Lab. Todd enjoys golf, Home Improvement projects, the beach, and reading.
Todd was on staff at North River as the Student Ministries Pastor from 1999-2006, and rejoined the North River team in January of 2017 as Executive Pastor. Both Todd and his family are very excited to return “home”.
Pastor of Children's Ministries
Ayn is the Pastor of Children’s Ministries at NRCC and joined our pastoral staff in January of 2000. Ayn is passionate about spiritual formation with children and families. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College magna cum laude, she is a Centurion’s Fellow having completed biblical world-view studies at the Chuck Colson Center. Ayn brings management experience in publishing and graphic design and has been active in public school leadership. She also works in building effective church-school partnerships in Boston. She lives in Scituate with her husband, Jean, and has three grown children. Ayn can be reached by phone at 781-826-0722 ext 102 or by email Ayn DuVoisin.
Life Development Pastor
Denis joined the staff in 2005 after serving with Campus Crusade, various pastoral roles and directing the New England Bethel Seminary site. He oversees our Small Groups, the Men’s, Women’s, and Marketing/Communication’s ministries and the Base Path Discipleship process.
DK graduated from Western Michigan where he played Varsity tennis and Dallas Seminary. He’s a certified Life/Leadership Coach and Church Consultant. The pursuit of a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership Development through Northeastern Seminary gets a portion of his time.
Valerie and Denis married at Ruggles Street Baptist in Boston in 1974. They have three adult children. The six grandchildren call him “Passer.” His mission related travels, have taken him to three African countries and to Kosovo. He grew up on Motown and Country music, but also enjoys Classical. Denis grew up dancing and his entire family loves to “cut a rug.” Denis can be reached at 781-826-0722 Ext. 103.
David is a contemporary Christian music singer/songwriter, worship leader, and producer. He has recorded nine of his own CD’s to date, in the rock/pop genre, the most recent being “This is Love.” (see www.davidcoate.com) David has toured nationwide with David Coate Group (DCG), and has performed at major festivals including Creation and Soul Festival. David studied classical guitar at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and completed the undergraduate piano curriculum of Berklee College of music under the direction of Berklee’s Steve Heck. David is also a graduate of Westminster College and MIT. After attending North River and serving on our worship team for several years, David was commissioned as Worship Pastor at North River, in October of 2001. David lives in Pembroke with his wife Sheryl and three children. David can be reached by email David Coate.
Student Ministries Pastor
Garrett Walston was born and raised in Florida. During his high school years he became a Christian which eventually led to his decision to serve God in youth ministry. He graduated from Gordon College with a B.A. majoring in both Youth Ministries and Biblical and Theological Studies. Garrett also met Renee at Gordon. They were married after graduation and now have 3 kids, Brady, Benjamin, and Adeline. Garrett’s passion in life is to share the gospel and provide a place for teenagers to come to know God and grow closer to Him. He loves to spend time with his family, go mountain biking, snow skiing, and spend time at the lake in the summer. In July of 2011, he joined the team at North River as Student Ministries Pastor where he invests in students from Grade 6 through high school and develops adult leaders who have a passion for seeing middle and high school students build their lives around Jesus. Email Garrett to find out more.
North River’s Overseers Team works in partnership with our senior pastor to provide spiritual direction and oversight for our entire church ministry. Ten Overseers are elected annually from within our membership. They function as biblical elders and as trustees of the church as an organization. While some Overseers lead individual ministries, all of them pray with and for our pastors and work with our senior pastor to ensure the biblical integrity and missional clarity and effectiveness for North River. While there is no limit to the number of years an Overseer may serve, if serving well, each Overseer is elected annually, one year at a time. Our senior pastor serves as an Overseer along with this year’s elected Overseers: Tom Harrison, chairperson, Chuck Dillon, Jennifer Churchill, Joyce Craven, Karen Pray, Anita Harmon, Gary Drinkwater, Luke Schriefer, Amy Nessler, and Marla Phippen. Contact chairperson Tom Harrison with questions or comments.
North River Community Church’s Finance Team serves the entire church by overseeing the financial health and accounting of all sources of funds, donations, and expenses. The Finance Team includes our Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, along with other members of the church who have strong financial management skills, discernment and wisdom. The Finance Team reports to North River’s Overseers, who bear the final decision making responsibility. The Finance Team alone has access to individual giving records. This team also regularly reviews best practices and policies, making recommendations to the Overseers for final approval. Finance Team personnel must be members of the church, are interviewed by current Finance Team and are approved by the Overseers. Our current Finance Team members are: Jim McDonough, Treasurer Kathy Yeats, Assistant Treasurer, Debbie Casey, Bookkeeper and John Maxwell. Paul Crossman serves as our Overseers Liason to the Finance Team. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the finance team.
North River Community Church’s Deacons Team is dedicated to serving Christ in partnership with our pastors and intentionally meeting the needs of others. Deacons are servants supporting the pastoral staff by helping with regular and special services, baptisms, communion, spiritual needs, bereavement, and visitations. They are also responsible for benevolent assistance to members of North River. The current members are Sherilyn Biagini, Deb Clapp, Jen Endicott, Derald Gullekson, Les Laputz, Joe McCarthy, Barbara McIver, Chris Prendiville, Joan Richards, Gail Saccone, Andy Sogolow, Paul Short, Marjorie Telford, and Jeff Trippier. If you have any questions, please contact the chair, Les Laputz.
A few years ago, our Overseers and Pastoral staff searched the Bible and hammered out nine Core Values which guide our church and should never change.
Scripture. We are committed to communicating the timeless truths of authentic, biblical Christianity in a culturally relevant, yet doctrinally pure fashion. Community. We are called to the process of creating a community of believers, where members serve Christ and each other through God-given spiritual gifts, where worship exalts God and inspires the people, where families of all sizes are nurtured, and where loving relationships permeate all that we say and do. Servanthood. Authenticity, spiritual growth, and servanthood are normative for Christ-followers. Accountability. Spiritual growth happens best in the context of meaningful relationships and small groups which are committed to accountability and encouragement. Lost People. The Church is called to love people who are far from God, because God desires to draw all people to His grace and mercy. Leadership. The Church is led best by spiritually gifted leaders, whose lives and decisions are continually submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Equality. Equality in Christ extends to every area of ministry, regardless of race, gender, and background. Excellence. Excellence in every aspect of life and work honors God. Stewardship. Intentional management of our time, talents, and financial resources honors God and aligns our will with His will.
ABOUT GOD: We believe in one God, Creator, and Lord of the Universe, the co-eternal Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
ABOUT JESUS: We believe that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary atoning death on the cross, rose bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven where, as truly God and truly man, He is the only mediator between God and man.
ABOUT SCRIPTURE: We believe the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired Word. It is without error in all its teachings, including creation, history, its own origins, and salvation. Christians must submit to its divine authority, both individually and corporately, in all matters of belief and conduct which is demonstrated by true righteous living.
ABOUT SALVATION: We believe that all people are lost sinners and cannot see the Kingdom of God except through the new birth. Justification is by grace through faith in Christ alone.
ABOUT THE CHURCH: We believe in one holy, universal, and apostolic Church. Its calling is to worship God and witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the Gospel among all nations and demonstrating its commitment by compassionate service to the needs of human beings and promoting righteousness and justice.
ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe in the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit for the individual’s new birth and growth to maturity, and for the Church’s constant renewal in truth, wisdom, faith, holiness, love, power, and mission.
ABOUT THE RETURN OF CHRIST: We believe that Jesus Christ will personally and visibly return in glory to raise the dead and bring salvation and judgment to completion. God will fully manifest His Kingdom when He establishes a new heaven and a new earth in which He will be glorified forever and exclude all evil, suffering, and death.
Our Mission Statement: “Helping people who are far from God become fully developed worshipers and servants of Christ.”
North River’s mission statement identifies the two primary commitments of the church. First, we are committed to people who have not received God’s grace with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. We aim to do this with clarity and creativity, seeking to be biblically anchored and culturally relevant. Toward this end, we have borrowed many ideas from Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Our second primary commitment focuses on helping followers of Jesus Christ become fully developed in their devotion and service to our Lord.
Since the fall of 2000, we have designed our Life Development Process around the five purposes of the church which stem from Jesus’ commands in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40).
North River Community Church began as a movement of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of a ten member steering team in the summer of 1989. After several weeks of planning and praying about launching a new church with a vision for creating a safe place where unchurched friends could learn about and consider the central claims of Christ, our first service took place on September 3, 1989.
With Paul Atwater as the founding pastor, that group of ten grew little by little through word of mouth as friends invited friends. From 1990 to 2003, North River met in a storefront in the Corporate Park office center. North River grew from 75 to 400 during those years, as we aimed at introducing spiritual seekers to the purposes of God. North River moved to our current church home at 334 Old Oak Street, in Pembroke, in the spring of 2003 on 44.2 acres that were partially donated by the Tedeschi Realty Company. Three all-church campaigns fueled North River’s continued growth, as we focused on 40 Days of Purpose, 40 Days of Community, and 40 Days of Partnership. Our Partnership focus led to an on-going urban-suburban partnership with Peoples Baptist Church in Boston, with whom North River continues to serve urban schools in order to show the love of Christ in action. North River also received a “2004 Church Health Award” from Purpose-Driven Ministries, sending Pastor Paul and Sue Atwater to Saddleback Church in California to receive this honor on behalf of North River.
North River’s building team embraced a long-range campus vision that allows for expansion in three phases. Phase One led to our current multi-purpose facility, which can seat 425 people, with classrooms for our KidsZone Childrens’ ministries and with shared space that is leased during the week to Bright Horizons Family Solutions day care. Phase Two anticipates adding additional classrooms, restrooms and a mid-sized meeting space. Phase Three aims to feature a dedicated worship center that will seat 1,000 people with possible balcony space for added seating. Our aim is to spend the next several years growing Deep and Wide. We want to take people deeper into knowledge of God’s timeless truth, while continually reaching wider to include more and more people who need to discover the life-changing grace of God through a personal commitment to following the teaching and leadership of Jesus Christ.
– Pastor Paul Atwater, March, 2015
“Helping people who are far from God become fully developed worshiper and servants of Christ.”
North River’s mission statement identifies the two primary commitments of the church.
First, we are committed to reaching unchurched people with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. We aim to do this with clarity and creativity, seeking to be biblically anchored and culturally relevant. Our second primary commitment focuses on helping Christ-followers become fully developed in their devotion and service to our Lord. North River is Purpose-Driven We help people build our lives and ministries around the five purposes of the church which stem from Jesus’ commands in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40). Since these purpose come directly from Jesus, we see them as “marching orders” for the church. These purposes are identified below: “Love the Lord your God….” = Worship “Love your neighbor as yourself…” = Ministry “Go, make disciple of all the nations…” = Mission “Teaching them to obey everything…” = Discipleship “Baptizing them in the name…” = Membership North River is Seeker-Friendly From our earliest days, North River has been fueled by a passion for making North River a safe place for people who have been burned by church, who have never been part of a church, and people who have wandered away from God to hear and understand the life-changing claims of Jesus Christ and the Bible. In each weekend service, we aim to take people deeper in understanding the claims of Christ, while reaching wider by stripping away overly-church language so that an absolute beginner can understand and embrace what we are teaching.