The First Presbyterian Church of Urbana is welcoming a new minister to the pulpit. Rev. Beau Brown has been called and was elected to pastor the congregation.
He began his work with the church on Monday, December 11, and he first led the worship service on Sunday, December 17.
He comes to Urbana from a rural community church in southern Illinois. He served for five years at First Presbyterian Church in Olney, Illinois. Before that he was a youth director in an inner city church.
Brown grew up in Evansville, Indiana. He describes it as a “River City,” located on the Ohio River. As a youth he became painfully aware of the poverty in the town and observed the social injustices nationwide. He had grown up in a friendly, loving family church and noted that the church had an outreach to all strata of society.
He graduated from William Henry Harrison High School in his home town, and entered the University of Southern Indiana, also in Evansville. (He was interested to learn that Harrison had given a speech in Urbana – at a location near what is now Urbana University.) Brown’s love for children, and determination to work for social justice led him to major in elementary education.
In college, he met his future wife, Amber, who also was an education major in the field of art. Together, they worshiped at a Presbyterian Church, which he found “more contemplative.” He did teach for awhile, but answered the call he felt to attend the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
During his ministry in Olney, he and his wife were very active in the community. She was a member of several community groups including the Arts Council and she was ordained a deacon in the church.
He also participated in a mission trip to Haiti, which he states is a location of “true poverty”.
Beau and Amber Brown visited Urbana prior to accepting the church’s call, and found it like “coming home”. Passing by Mike Major’s studio, and other businesses in town, they felt that this was a place where the arts were supported. Although their twins are not school age (only two years old), the couple was impressed with the new schools and they were sure that this was a community that invests in its youth, and holds education as a priority.
Although he is already serving the church as pastor, his formal installation will be held on Sunday, February 18.
Jan Ebert is a regular contributor to this newspaper.