BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
---- — SEABROOK — It isn’t Bill Main’s craving for caffeine that keeps him sitting at a table working at his computer in Starbucks for two hours every Tuesday afternoon, it’s his passion for ministry.
“Being here is a pretty good way of being in the community,” said the systems-engineer-turned minister who took over recently as pastor at Trinity United Church. “If you have a question, it takes a lot of emotional energy to call to make an appointment to speak with a minister. But if I’m sitting here, and you know I’m here, how much emotional energy does it take to pick up your computer, come over and ask me your question?”
It’s just one example of the way Main views ministry, as a part of everyday life that has started to disappear over the decades as fewer Americans take part in organized religion. A Congregationalist, Main’s always been active in the church, beginning as a youth when he attended with his parents.
“I always felt comfortable in church,” he said. “We go to church not necessarily because we need to, but because the person sitting beside us may need us to be there. If we aren’t there for others, others may not be there for us when we need them.”
Trained at Clarkson University as a mechanical engineer, after decades in his profession, in 2005 he walked away from engineering. That happened after 12 years as a lay minister, while he was the head deacon at his hometown church, the First Church of Christ in Marblehead. His decision in part, came at the urging of others.
The calling was strong enough for him to leave his engineering consulting company behind him and enter Andover Newton Theological School. Serving for two years as an interim minister at Amesbury Union Congregational Church, when hearing of the opening at Trinity, he applied. After the pastoral search committee met with him, it was a done deal.
Arriving at Trinity recently, Main believes he’s found a spiritual home.
“They are wonderful people at Trinity,” Main said. “They’re desirous of a spiritual experience in their worship service. There’s a refocusing on God. I’m a biblical preacher, and they were very happy to hear that. I have severe dyslexia and I preach without written notes, and they were happy about that too.”
Along with Sundays in town and his Tuesday afternoon coffeehouse ministry, where Main invites all to come and chat, he’s also begun a second bible study class at Trinity on Tuesday mornings.
“My goal here is to make myself approachable,” Main said.