Centre Congregational Church

United Church of Christ

We Welcome Everyone: An “Open & Affirming” Church

Handicap Accessible

Phone: (781) 334-3050   Fax:  (781) 334-6463;   Email: Office@Centre-Church.org

5 Summer Street, Lynnfield, Massachusetts  01940


The Rev. Thomas Bentley - Designated Term Pastor 2023  (pastortom@centre-church.org)

Tom was ordained into the UCC in 1980 and has served many different UCC congregations in Massachusetts. Most of these calls were as a Designated Term Interim Pastor helping churches develop strategic planning to meet challenging changes. Up until 2020 Tom always pastored as a bi-vocational minister, maintaining a second career in human services, community organizing, and housing development.

From 1986 Tom became the full-time founding Executive Director of Emmaus Inc. in Haverhill where he served 16 years. This non-profit is now the largest shelter provider in Essex County, assisting over 1,000 men, women, and children each year.

As an independent consultant since 1990 Tom also oversaw the funding and construction of hundreds of subsidized units, most of which targeted disadvantaged families and formerly homeless individuals. For decades he worked with non-profits throughout New England helping them develop services and housing for low-income groups. Tom likewise consulted for cities and towns to help them meet their goals for affordable housing. This often involved creating new homes for first-time homebuyers as well as renters.

In 2011 while pastoring Trinity Congregational Church in Gloucester, Tom organized and directed The Grace Center, a day services program for homeless and low-income adults. This agency now serves over 70 men and women each day.

In 2020 Tom reduced his housing consulting and human services work and concentrated his professional time exclusively to being a Designated Term Pastor at the First Church UCC in Rowley. He is excited to be beginning his new ministry as the Designated Term Pastor at Centre Congregational Church UCC in Lynnfield.

Tom lives in Gloucester with his wife Jeanne, who is a literacy specialist at Cathedral High School in Boston. They have three adult-age children. One year ago, Tom and Jeanne became grandparents to their first grandchild, Harrison.

Along with parish ministry and being a Grandad, Tom likes to direct his creative passions to oil painting, fiction writing, gourmet cooking, hiking, horticulture and most recently golf where his handicap is beyond calculation.