Staff/Leadership

Staff

Brynn Harrington headshot
  • Lead Pastor

Bio

Brynn grew up in Southern California, but moved to the North Shore in 2002 to study theology and writing at Gordon College. It didn't take long for Brynn to fall in love with the North Shore coastline, Captain Dusty's ice cream, and her now husband Aaron, a Massachusetts native. After college, she spent time working with churches in California and Georgia before heading back north to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Brynn also serves as an ex-officio member of the Highrock Board. Brynn gets excited about seeing God's Kingdom breaking in all over the community, encouraging others to live into their unique gifts, and throwing massive parties. 

brent linnihan
  • Executive Pastor

Bio

Brent spent his formative years in rural Oklahoma, studied Biblical Languages at Oklahoma Baptist University, and then attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he obtained his Master of Divinity. Prior to serving on staff at Highrock North Shore, Brent obtained his second Master’s Degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He's devoted to Hilary, his wife and high school sweetheart, and their chihuahua, Sugar Babe. Brent gets excited about teaching the story of God, playing board games with friends, chopping wood, making and drinking good coffee, hiking in the mountains, watching and listening to marching bands, and reading quality books.

Angie Giancola
  • Pastor of Youth & Family Ministries

Bio

Angie was born in Northern Virginia and lived there until moving to Blacksburg to attend Virginia Tech. Upon graduating in 2013, she uprooted to the North Shore to pursue a Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An avid sports fan, Angie enjoys cheering on her Hokies and coaching volleyball at Salem High School. Over the last several years, she has joyfully embraced New England's rich sports culture by attending events at each of the major venues in the area. Angie is passionate about prayer, deep conversation, and empowering teenagers to discover and engage their faith in today’s culture.

  • Pastor of Kids and Family Ministries

Bio

Ali was born and raised in Beverly. She studied Biology at Wheaton College before returning home to pursue a Masters of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Ali loves talking about God’s redemptive plan, good coffee, and trying out new recipes with her husband, Will.

Ethan May
  • Pastor of Community Life and Outreach

Bio

Ethan grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and studied education at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Roughly 36 hours after getting married, he and his wife Caila moved to the North Shore so he could pursue a Master of Divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, where he is currently a student. Ethan immediately fell in love with all things New England...he even owns a pair of boat shoes now. Ethan gets excited talking about the realness of Biblical characters and the relatability of their stories, hockey, Harry Potter and Star Wars, novels, and board games.

Gene Park headshot
  • Pastor of Congregational Care and Hospitality

Bio

Gene was born and raised in Northern California. While studying I.T. at San Jose State University, he developed an undeniable passion to be in ministry that led him to pursue a Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Gene gets jazzed about sharing the story of God, serving the church from behind the scenes, engaging in quality conversations, and cooking a variety of cuisines. Here is a fun fact: He can speak Japanese (just not fluently yet). He has been on two incredible missionary trips to Japan and plans to go again in the near future.

Marcia Gove
  • Sexton

Bio

Raised in Windsor Locks, CT and came to the North Shore to attend Gordon College.  Marcia worked on the college cleaning crew to help pay for classes.  After graduation, she met and married Bruce.  They have lived in Beverly for more than 30 years and have 2 married children.  Marcia plays trombone in both bands that rehearse in the church.

Eva Smidt headshot
  • Director of Marketing & Communications, Treasurer

Bio

Eva spent her younger years moving between Southern California, South Carolina, and the Congo. After graduating Gordon College in 2011 and marrying Colby, another New England transplant, they decided to put down roots on the North Shore. Eva studied Communication Arts and spent the last 8 years in Account Management at a Boston-based digital marketing agency. She enjoys the snow (but wishes winter was just a couple months shorter) and could spend every day at the beach in the summer. Eva loves to sing, hang out with friends, and spend time with Colby and their sons, Jackson and Caleb.

Susan Morneau headshot
  • Community Care Support

Bio

Born in Salem, Susan lived on the North Shore until, at the age of 20, she married Paul and moved to upstate New York. They lived away from this area for 23 years before moving back to Salem. Susan has been a nurse for over 40 years, loves her job and continues to work part time at Lahey Burlington. She has three adult children and two grandchildren. Her favorite things are caring for people, hosting family and friend events, the beach and coffee.

Jess Modaff
  • Director of Worship Arts

Bio

Jess grew up in Washington State, attended college in Illinois, and has resided in Massachusetts since 2006. She holds multiple music degrees, including a doctorate in piano and collaborative music. Jess works at Gordon College where she teaches music theory, chamber music, mentors students, and acts as music director for musical theatre productions. She has been with Highrock North Shore since the church was founded, and is thrilled to be serving in this role. Prior to serving at HRNS, Jess has held positions at churches elsewhere as worship leader, pianist, music arranger and choral conductor. When not making music, Jess enjoys drinking coffee, puzzles, audiobooks, honest conversations, and being present with those who need encouragement and a listening ear.

Sage Shaw headshot
  • Executive Director - Open Door Immigration Services

Bio

Sage joined Open Door Immigration Services in November 2018 and oversees all programs for the organization. Sage has received ILRC immigration law certification and is in the process of becoming accredited by the Department of Justice.

Activities & Affiliations:

Immigration Advocates Network, Member
World Relief Technical Legal Assistance, Member
North Shore Latino Business Association

Education

B.S. Business Administration and Spanish University of Mary Washington
Executive MBA Universidad de Deusto
Certificate, ILRC Basic Immigration Law

Board

Steve Cushing
  • Board Chair

Bio

Steve currently serves as the Senior Chaplain and Executive Director at the New England Seafarers Mission, an international outreach and advocacy organization within the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). He has served there for over 20 years and is ordained within the ECC. Steve served as an overseer at Highrock during its initial years and continues to participate with us. He grew up in the Boston area and now lives in Wakefield, MA with his wife Sharon. They have two adult children. He is a second career minister, having worked in small business and self-employed small business prior to entering the ministry.

John Entner
  • Vice Chair

Bio

John grew up moving throughout the US with his family, came to the North Shore in 2003, and finally settled here with his wife, Kathryn, in 2008. He attended Suffolk University Law School and graduated with a JD in 2012. John is currently a business litigator with a small firm in Boston. John enjoys playing music and sports, great storytelling in any form, and doing home improvement projects to his 19th century Salem home. John is especially passionate about the intersection of politics, law and religion, much to the dismay of all his friends.

Benjie Hughes
  • Treasurer

Bio

Benjie is a freelance writer, marketing strategist and story nerd who lives in North Salem with wife Amy and their son Ezra. He worked for a Chicago-area newspaper before starting his own business, which began as a recording studio and wound up a wedding DJ company.
 
Benjie’s happy place is at a whiteboard with some coffee, figuring it out. He spent his childhood in Atlanta, middle school in Tulsa and his high-school years in England and in Switzerland. His first pet, a hamster, was named "Hamletta" by his parents. It was years before he got the joke.

Josh John
  • Secretary

Bio

Josh spent the first thirteen years of his life in the southern part of India before moving to New Jersey where he spent his middle school and high school years. He moved to the North Shore in 2012 to attend Gordon College where he obtained a Bachelors in Social Work and met his now wife and North Shore native, Moriah. Josh has been part of Highrock since 2016 serving on the Kidsrock team, in Life Groups and as a participant in many Soul Trainings. He loves spending his time playing basketball, hiking or trying new food with friends and family!

Kyra Drescher
  • Pastoral Care Committee Liaison

Bio

Kyra grew up North of Boston and feels a very strong connection to her hometown and its surrounding communities. She attended Gordon college for her undergraduate degree in Social Work and received her Masters in the field from Salem State University. Professionally Kyra is a LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker) working for the Justice Resource Institute. She met her husband Matt in 2015 and together they enjoy visiting local breweries and collecting vintage records. Kyra has attended Highrock North Shore for seven years now and loves being part of Christ’s mission in dismantling systems of oppression and creating opportunities for flourishing. Personally Kyra is an avid forager, savvy thrifter and cooking enthusiast. 

  • Board Member

Bio

Shilpa was born and raised in Bangalore, India where she met and married her husband Appu Thomas. In 2004, they moved to Worcester MA, so Appu could pursue his Master’s degree at WPI. They have lived on the North Shore since 2007 and are parents to two beautiful children.
Shilpa is an assistant Librarian at her local library. She is most passionate about using her gifts for research and writing to speak out about social injustice. Her mission in life is to serve others and to do so with empathy, compassion, and grace.

Will Peña
  • Board Member

Bio

Will grew up in Santiago, Dominican Republic and studied Political Science at Gordon College. Will currently works as the Citizenship Program Manager at the New American Association of MA, an organization dedicated to helping immigrants and refugees settle into the community. He enjoys getting to know people and hearing about their stories. In his spare time, Will loves a good cup of coffee, playing local pick-up soccer, and swimming at the beach. 

Lance Nicolaysen
  • Board Member

Bio

Lance Nicolaysen and his wife Tina reside in Beverly, relocating here from Georgia in 1989.  Their three grown children - Ben, Susie, and Lizzie - live and work in the Boston area.  Lance has undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics, and a Ph. D. in Analytical Chemistry, from Emory University.  Before joining HRNS in 2020, they were members of Dane Street for over 20 years where Lance served in multiple leadership roles including Moderator.  Lance also enjoys preparing and serving food for the congregation and participates with the team that maintains aspects of the church facility and operation.