Newton Presbyterian Church
75 Vernon Street
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: 617.332.9255

Padilla b&w
Rev. Dr. Alvin Padilla
Head of staff, Interim Pastor
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 1


Rev. Jean Risley
Rev. Dr. Jean Risley
*On Medical Leave
Read Jean’s Bio

Rev. Jean Risley, Interim Pastor

My first career was in computers, working with artificial intelligence, and my second career was as a technical manager, leading teams to build strategic systems. When I first became a Christian in mid-life, I wanted to know Jesus as the person he was during his lifetime on earth. I was fascinated by the way language and cultural conventions affect thinking, and I studied the gospels with a focus on how Jesus and his followers thought, felt, and interacted with others.

I am interested in spiritual formation, the influence of first century Judaism on Jesus and the early church, moral guidance and growing toward righteousness, dealing with clergy misconduct, working with churches in conflict and transition, and life and ministry in small churches.  My perspective on Jesus and the church is the result of three formative experiences.

  • When I first came back to faith, I experienced the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola under the direction of Father Lawrence Corcoran, S. J. The Exercises provided a direct and intimate engagement with the person of Jesus.
  • I traveled on a pilgrimage “In the Footsteps of Saint Paul,” and standing on the stones of the agora in Corinth I finally had to come to terms with the reality of the person of Paul.
  • In seminary I studied with Christian and Jewish students and faculty from Andover Newton and Hebrew College, and I got to see scriptures which were long familiar to me in a completely different perspective.

I am ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and served as pastor of Scotchtown Presbyterian Church in Middletown, New York. My first book, A Place Where Everybody Matters: Life and Ministry in a Small Church, shows how a small church can be a great place to grow disciples. I have served as interim pastor in several churches in the New England area and as a guest preacher and teacher in a variety of churches.

My education includes the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Andover Newton Theological School, an MBA from Simmons College, a Master of Science in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Michigan State University.

Favorite Book(s):(other than the Bible)

Precious Bane by Mary Webb, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Favorite Quote:

Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation; they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be.  If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?  They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane:  with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by; there I plant my foot.  [Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre:  An Autobiography (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898)]

Favorite Food:  chocolate

Favorite TV Show(s):  Person of Interest

Favorite Singer(s)/Band(s):  Tommy Makem

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Sailing

Favorite Drink(s): Diet Coke with Lime

Favorite Animal: Maine Coon Cat

Favorite Website(s):

Rev. Kevin Campbell
Associate Pastor for Family and Community Life
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 2
Read Kevin’s Bio

Kevin credits the ministry of Young Life with introducing him to Jesus Christ and for nurturing him in his faith throughout his high school and teenage years. After a two-year stint on Young Life Staff, he came to NPC and served for seven years as the full time Youth Pastor.

In 1997 he left our staff and went to seminary at Gordon-Conwell. Several years, one degree and three children later, he returned to NPC, excited about serving God in a new way.

Kevin lives in Hudson with his wonderfully supportive wife, Debbie and their three amazing daughters — Mary, Elizabeth, and Erin. He has a desire to see families become the places of  primary spiritual influence . Kevin is an avid golfer who also loves to cook and play in his garden.

Favorite Place: Tuscany

Favorite Quote: “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen”—Mark Twain

Favorite Food: Anything Italian

Favorite TV Show(s): Iron Chef America, Medium

Favorite Movie(s): Black Hawk Down, Elf. The King’s Speech

Favorite Ice Cream:  raspberry chocolate chip from Kimball’s Farm

Favorite Singer(s)/Band(s) Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, The Zac Brown Band and  Rascal Flats

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Golf, gardening

Favorite Cereal(s): Frosted mini-wheats

Favorite Sports Team(s): Bruins

Favorite Drink(s): Diet coke and coffee

Favorite Game(s): Anything Wii

kim macleod b&w







Kim MacLeod
Director of Children’s Ministries
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 706






Peter Hynes
Co-Director of Youth Ministries
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 5
Read Peter’s Bio

Peter was born, raised, baptized and confirmed at Newton Presbyterian church. He has been in every room and secret passage the building has to offer except one…at least for now. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Biochemistry and minors in Public Health and Educational studies. While in college he spent most of his time helping with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) on his campus, and spent two summers in East Asia with them sharing the Gospel to college students. He is also an avid singer and a connoisseur of all things Carrie Underwood.

Favorite Book (other than the Bible): The Shack

Favorite Food: Sunday Dinner at Grandma’s House

Favorite Movies: Tomb Raider, Mulan

Favorite Ice Cream: Breyers Waffle Cone Overload!

Favorite Singer: Carrie Underwood…there’s no comparison

Favorite Outdoor Activity: Mini-Golf

Favorite Cereal: Frosted Mini Spooners (the off brand of mini-wheats)

Favorite Drinks: Turtle Latte or a Medium MacDonald’s Ice Coffee

Favorite Games: Catchphrase, Would You Rather, Jenga

Favorite Animals: A Panda or a White Bengal Tiger

Favorite Websites: NPC Youth,






Bethany Carnes
Director of Contemporary Worship, Arts and Media
Phone: 617.332.9255
Read Bethany’s Bio

Bethany grew up in Waltham, Ma and is a 3rd generation NPC’er! She lives in Newton with her husband Jeff and her boy/s Moses and  Jasper.  Bethany tends to wear a variety of hats through the day to day. She is an occupational therapist who LOVES to work with geriatrics. She has her own photography business ( and loves directing the worship band here at NPC. That being said, her favorite “job” is raising her family.

Favorite Quote:

Favorite Food: Ice cream and coffee (is that a food?)

Favorite Ice Cream:  Breyers Black Raspberry with Chocolate Chunks

Favorite Singer(s)/Band(s): U2, Chris Tomlin, The Ineloquent, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Bare Naked Ladies, Ben Folds

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Being on the water

Favorite Sports Team(s): Do you have to ask a New England girl?

Favorite Drink(s): Any form of COFFEE!






John Harutunian
Read John’s Bio

Dr. John is the author of Haydn’s and Mozart’s Sonata Styles: A Comparison (Edwin Mellen Press).  His publications have also appeared in Westwind: UCLA’s Journal of the Arts, and in The Journal of Musicological Research. John has taught at Bridgewater State College, Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His performances as a recitalist in the Boston area include concerts at the New England Conservatory with musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  He has also recorded four CDs.  John is listed in the International Who’s Who in Music.







Rev. Dr. Garrett Smith
Teaching Pastor, Director of Outreach and Spiritual Formation
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 3
Read Garrett’s Bio

My wife Nici and I are the parents of three wonderful children, Daliya, Zachary, and Ilana. I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and my wife comes from the country of Namibia in Southern Africa.  I have a Doctor of Ministry and Masters of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Business/Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.   I was raised Jewish, and became a believer in Jesus while I was living in Israel about twenty years ago.  We raise our children in both the Jewish and Christian worlds as my wife is also a Jewish believer in Jesus. Both my wife and I served as missionaries with Jews for Jesus for twelve years. Here is a link to an apologetic/pastoral video blog I started recently (  and an article I had published on marriage entitled:  Commitment: The Path to Finding Shalom in Marriage.    I am also the teaching elder at a local Messianic Jewish Fellowship that meets the First Friday of each month at NPC (

Read how I became a believer in Jesus – “Jewish Buddhist finds Jesus”

Favorite Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis

Favorite Quote: “ We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us.” – C.S. Lewis

Favorite Food: Love ethnic food – Ethiopian, Thai, Mexican, you name it, I will eat it.

Favorite Ice Cream: Dastardly Mash – Ben and Jerry’s stopped making it about 10-15 years ago, and I still have not recovered.

Favorite Singer(s)/Band(s): James Taylor, Gypsy Kings

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Basketball and Playing with my kids

Favorite Sports Team(s):  Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox

Favorite Drink(s): Milk Shake, Coconut Water, Lassi







Nici Smith
Director of Women’s Ministries and Community Growth
Phone: 617-332-9255 ext. 4
Read Nici’s Bio

Nici Smith, Director of Women’s Ministries, Small Groups, Fellowship & Hospitality

Nici was born in the country of Namibia.  Her Jewish Grandparents came to Southern Africa having fled the Holocaust, and Nici became a believer in Jesus when she was sixteen.  Nici, her mother, and her grandparents actually all became believers in Jesus in the same year. Nici is married to Garrett (who is also on staff) and is the mother of three children, Zach, Daliya, and Ilana. Garrett and Nici served together as missionaries with Jews for Jesus for twelve years.  Here at Newton Pres, Nici is in charge of the Mom Connection and the Thursday morning Bible study as well as overseeing all the Women’s ministries, small groups, fellowship and hospitality.

Favorite Book(s):(other than the Bible) Life Together – Dietrich Boenhoffer

Favorite Quote: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Favorite Food: Thai

Favorite TV Show(s) TV only came to my country when I was 13 so honestly I don’t watch any TV. I just never get into it.

Favorite Movie(s): Nowhere in Africa, Sarafina

Favorite Ice Cream: Mint.

Favorite Singer(s)/Band(s): Chris Tomlin

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Walking along the Charles River, chasing my kids around

Favorite Cereal(s): You can’t get it here, it’s an African cereal called matabella pap

Favorite Sports Team(s): The Red Sox

Favorite Drink(s): Chai Latte






Fiona Essien
Co-Director of Youth Ministries
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 5

Read Fiona’s Bio

Fiona graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelors in Psychology, a concentration in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services, and a minor in Education. Her life has come full circle, leading the youth group that she used to be a part of and serving as an assistant preschool teacher at the preschool she used to attend. Fiona is one of 8 kids, has 2 sisters-in-law, and one beautiful niece.

Favorite books: The Hunger Games, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the DSM-IV-TR

Favorite food: Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza from Antonio’s

Favorite movie: The Princess Bride

Favorite ice cream: Oreo Overload from Coldstone

Favorite singer: Josh Groban

Favorite outdoor activities: picnics, leisurely walks, water sports

Favorite cereal: Cap’n Crunch

Favorite drink: chocolate milk

Favorite game: Spoons

Favorite animal: Liger

Favorite website:






Jessica Kelley
Director of Traditional Music Ministries
Director of Administration
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 0
Read Jes’s Bio

Jessica earned her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at Gordon College, Wenham, MA in 2002.  She lives in Newton with her husband, Dan and her guinea pig, Sebastian.

Favorite Book(s):(other than the Bible) Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance by Donald Miller, Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Chronicles of Narnia (all of them) by C.S. Lewis

Favorite Food: Indian, Italian, Mexican

Favorite Movie(s): Adventures in Babysitting, Beaches, Finding Nemo

Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate with spoonful of peanut butter mixed in

Favorite Singer(s)/Band(s): U2, Switchfoot (older stuff), Lionel Richie, Keith Green, Renee Fleming, Dietrich Fischer Diskau, Heart, Christy Nockels

Favorite Outdoor Activities: hiking, biking, swinging, exploring

Favorite Cereal(s): frosted shredded wheat

Favorite Sports Team(s): Red Sox, Patriots, Cubs

Favorite Game(s): Scrabble, hopscotch

Favorite Website(s):,






Victoria Melvin
Director of Presbyterian Church Nursery School (PCNS)
Phone: 617.332.9255 ext. 6






Open Positions