TriCon's Rebecca Floyd Marshall leading a sunrise service at the Old North Bridge. Courtesy photo

Seeking to inspire hope and purpose, new senior minister leads TriCon

April 27, 2024

 By Laurie O’NeillCorrespondent

“No matter who you are. Or where you are on life’s journey…”

Every Sunday morning, Rebecca Floyd Marshall, the new senior minister at Trinitarian Congregational Church, stands at the pulpit and offers these words. But it’s the ones she follows them with that count most: “You are all welcome.”  

Floyd Marshall knows what it’s like to yearn for spiritual belonging. While at Wellesley College, where she majored in English, and when she later worked at Harvard University Press and then in the financial aid office at Harvard, she didn’t attend church despite being a “PK,” or Pastor’s Kid. For 20 years, her father led a church in Pittsfield, where Floyd Marshall grew up. 

Wrapped up in college and then post-collegiate life, when she was living with “a bunch of other young 20-somethings,” going to church “just wasn’t part of my habits,” said Floyd Marshall, sitting in her office with a visitor on a rainy April day. 

At the same time, Floyd Marshall felt a “deep dissatisfaction with the world and the way it was. I just kept looking around me and seeing all of the norms of this highly competitive, highly individualized, consumeristic society.”  

The more she “fell out of” having a spiritual life, “the more unhealthy and unhappy I was,” she said. “I had such a sense of emptiness. It wasn’t how I wanted to live and who I wanted to be. I realized there was something deeper and more meaningful than what the current culture was offering up.” 

Floyd Marshall started attending services at First Church of Christ in Cambridge, where she met “a wonderful pastor,” the Rev. Dr. Mary Luti, who would become her mentor. “She was speaking my language,” said Floyd Marshall, “and talking about what I cared about.” 

Senior Minister of TriCon Rebecca Floyd Marshall behind the pulpit. Courtesy photo

Finding her calling

After joining First Church, Floyd Marshall experienced “an immediate sense of fullness. I decided that this is what I wanted to do for others, to be a steward and to provide them with beautiful, inspiring messages.”

At the same time, she also got a “crash course” in pastoral care when working in the loan department of the financial aid office. When the stock market crashed in 2008, distraught parents would call her, saying they had lost everything and didn’t know what to do. 

Counseling them, Floyd Marshall was “emotionally challenged,” but she got her first inkling of what her true calling might be: “I found I was good at talking to people in crisis.”

She began taking classes at Harvard Divinity School and later graduated from Yale Divinity School. Floyd Marshall has been a minister of the United Church of Christ for more than ten years. She was ordained in 2013 and served as associate minister at Greens Farms Church in Westport, Connecticut, for a few years. 

Most recently, she served as senior minister at the UCC of Little Compton, Rhode Island, leading the congregation through a successful capital campaign to make their historic building fully accessible and welcoming to all. 

While in Little Compton, Floyd Marshall and her husband, Alex, who works in cybersecurity, had their two children, Simon, 6, and Luke, 4. Though she treasures the seven years she spent there, the family felt it was time to move on. She was drawn to TriCon, which has some 500 members, when she read its profile and a description of what it was seeking in a new minister. 

Floyd Marshall and her family in Maine. Courtesy photo

The right match

Floyd Marshall entered the “search and call” process, during which the candidate and the search committee look for “a good match.” The TriCon team “was wonderful, and it really embodied the congregation,” she said. 

Jeff Campbell, the committee co-chair, said of the new minister, “We had a strong sense she was a good fit. [She] was highly qualified, listened well, and could lead…[and she] serves in ministry relying on a deep faith and an abundance of energy and enthusiasm.”

Floyd Marshall began her tenure at TriCon on March 1. She is getting acclimated to Concord and all it offers. Simon and Luke are “very excited to live near the train,” she said. And “they love the church,” where they have “a million grandmas and aunts and uncles.” 

Embracing Concord

A self-described “literary nerd,” Floyd Marshall looks forward to exploring the town’s iconic authors’ homes. “I’ve read ‘Little Women’ like 15 times!” she said. Being in Concord “is sort of like walking into a church that’s been there for a long time and sensing all of the souls that came before.” 

She’s still learning the town’s geography. When she led TriCon’s Easter sunrise service at the Old North Bridge after days of rain, she eyed the swollen Concord River and commented, “What a pretty lake!” 

However, a pastor’s life doesn’t allow much time for sightseeing. “It’s a grueling schedule, with a lot of night meetings and working weekends,” said Floyd Marshall. Serving as a steward and counselor is also “an emotionally heavy job.” She tries to take care of herself because “the well needs to be full so it can continue to feed others.” 

But she wouldn’t have it any other way. “The church has a special obligation to inspire people and help them find purpose, meaning, hope, and God,” said Floyd Marshall. “That’s what I want to do.”