The Rev. Dr. Paul Thomas Rock grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, Springfield, Virginia, and Stillwater, Minnesota. Paul has been engaged in mission and pastoral work for 25 years, beginning with a three-year stint as a tent-maker missionary in Budapest, Hungary. He served as an associate pastor in Santa Clarita, CA (Los Angeles area) and at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in New York City before coming to Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his Doctor of Ministry in 2011 from Drew University. He earned his Master of Divinity with honors from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1998. Paul has two books published by Westminster John Knox Press.
Paul is a disciple of Jesus Christ for many reasons. He has always been spiritually inclined and curious and was raised in a loving family where Christian faith and practice shaped routines and formed character. Through three years of mission work and three years of seminary, God’s Spirit lovingly helped Paul reconstruct his young adult faith and he fell in love with the Jesus of his Reformed heritage. He is tremendously thankful that, throughout his life-long faith journey, he has never felt separated from God’s immense and encompassing love for him. Therefore, he is, and continues to be, a thankful and committed follower of Jesus Christ. In Paul’s own words, “Jesus’s love claims me and gives my life hope, sustaining strength and purpose. In response, I try to know, love, serve and follow Christ each day.”
Paul’s understanding of the Church is that it is a diverse community composed of imperfect people, filled with the Spirit, through whom God continues Christ’s work of reconciliation and healing in the world. As a part of this community, we are all invited to embrace our priestly calling and grow in knowledge, faith and skill so that each of us can be actively engaged in the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. As a pastor, Paul understands he is not the shepherd, Christ is.
Here are a few personal insights into Paul:
• Paul and Stacey have been married for 28 years. Stacey is the love of his life and an Assistant U.S. Attorney. They love to travel, read, go on runs and spend time laughing with their three (brilliant) children and their greatest accomplishments: Emily, a UCLA grad living in LA, Nathan, a sophomore at Fordham University (Bronx) and Claire, a very recent high school graduate!
• His interests include a good book and a good cup of coffee, running and exercise, exploring the history and beauty of cities, stimulating conversation, getting lost in a splendid movie and watching college sports with Stacey.
• He is currently reading “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah.
• His current devotional practice is a daily scripture followed by loving-kindness meditation and prayer - and training for a 1⁄2 marathon.