Meet the Staff
Rev. Mark Hinchcliff
August 25, 2021
Friends and Church Members,
I hope those two terms are synonymous as we all move into the next phase of God’s call of ministry. Bittersweet as my role of pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Martinsville comes to a close on August 31, 2021 in order to enter into retirement. As my church office, once stuffed to the brim with books and memories, slowly emptied out over the past month and my house just blocks away fills up, the reality of change is coming!
The send off reception at King’s Grant was wonderful and what will last for me, is the cherished shared experiences that lead up to now. Those memories are not an ending for any of us but rather gifts from God that no one can take away. Ahh..men or Amen will always be expressions of praise not an end of expressions of love for one another. Thank you one and all.
In recent days, I have met with representatives of the Presbytery of the Peaks Committee on Ministry, our Presbytery Executive, Rev. Carl Utley, and the Session to review separation protocols of the denomination and of the heart. At our Congregational meeting on August 8, 2021, the pastor/congregation relationship was dissolved by vote and submitted to the Presbytery for honorable retirement. That status has been approved and becomes official on August 31. From that point forward, I go as friend, but not as your pastor. Our denomination desires for both the pastor and the congregation to have the best chance of a smooth transition into a new ministry. Specifically, Tracy and I will not be worshipping with you, and I will not be officiating weddings or funerals or participating in future decisions or direction of First Presbyterian Church affairs.
Please don’t perceive these actions as uncaring or insensitive but quite the opposite. These policies are mandated by the Presbytery in love to allow a new ministry to flourish and not showing favoritism towards some and not others. Your future leaders are counting on your loyalty and support and Christ Knows you can.
I hope you can understand these boundaries are as difficult for me as they may be for some of you. Tracy and I will remain here in Martinsville and Tracy will continue as Director of Grace Network. Future plans for me, may include preaching some at other area churches and FPC has the chance to hear fresh words from others.
I look forward to running into each other around town and sharing stories about everything except FPC. As Carol Burnett use to say at the end of her shows…” Thanks for the memories”
Blessings, Mark Hinchclif
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our dear friend and beloved organist/music director, Cynthia Dobrinski. Cynthia went on to be with her Lord and Savior Tuesday, October 12, 2021 in Martinsville, VA. Cynthia has been with us for 20 years and has given us beautiful music on the organ and through her handbell compositions. Please keep her family in your prayers.
Cynthia Dobrinski has been the Organist of First Presbyterian since 2001. She plays for Sunday worship, accompanies the Chancel Choir and soloists, and plays for other special services of the church as well as weddings and funerals. In 2012, she was named Music Director and supervises all aspects of music for the church. She directs the Chancel Choir and adult handbell choir, and accompanies volunteer musicians.
Cynthia received her B.M. in organ performance from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, and studied organ and harpsichord in Cologne, Germany, on a Fulbright DAAD fellowship. She received her M.M. in organ performance from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
Well-known as a composer, arranger, and hand-bell clinician, Cynthia has taught hand-bell and composing workshops in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Japan, and Singapore. Her music has been played and recorded in many parts of the world, and she is the recipient of numerous ASCAP special awards.
Deborah Burgess comes to First Presbyterian Church with a wide range of education and experience that spans from Austria to many points of the United States.
Her studies include graduate vocal and German language study from the American Institute of Musical Studies, Graz, Austria; Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary; advanced piano and vocal study at Chowan College, Murfreesboro, NC; Bachelor of Music in education at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, just to name a few. She also has extensive training and education in opera and theatrical studies as well.
Her experience includes Director of the Patrick Henry Community College Chamber Music Recital Series; Music Assistant and Pastoral Internship at Mercy Crossing, Martinsville, VA; Worship Leader at New Life Community Church, Ridgeway, VA; Worship leader at Martinsville Christian Fellowship, Martinsville, VA; Pianist at Open Door Church, Suffolk, VA and Co Pastor / Worship Leader at Praise Tabernacle, Ahoskie, NC. She also has experience in teaching voice, piano, theory, organ, guitar, violin, bass, strings, clarinet, recorder, beginning brass, percussion, and other woodwinds.
Deborah was raised in Levittown, New York but has lived in the Martinsville area for over 30 years. She has mentored many young students with her love of music and ministry and it seemed her house was always full of either young people, home groups, or friends from church. She has a great faith that saw her through the loss of her husband 15 years ago and that faith shows through in her music, today. Her mother and 2 sisters reside in Florida where she likes to visit, but she loves Martinsville and she says she just can’t see herself moving away. Deborah is now learning to paint which she finds both challenging and rewarding.
If you are interested in joining the praise band for the early contemporary service, please contact Deborah at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam, a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church of Martinsville, has been volunteering in various aspects of children’s ministry since he was in middle school. In 2019, he became the Director of Youth and Family Ministries. He facilitates various ministry opportunities for children, youth, and families such as Vacation Bible School, youth Sunday School classes, youth retreats, family fellowship outings, and special seasonal events for the fall, advent, and spring seasons.
Sam also serves as a resource for children/youth/young adult ministries to congregations within the Presbytery of the Peaks as the Discipleship Program Director. As such, he also serves as the Presbytery coordinator for the Youth Triennium, director of the Camp Peaks Summer Day Camp, and moderator of the Youth Council (PoPYoCo).
Sam received a B.A. in Literary Studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Roanoke College. He then received an M.A. in Screenwriting and Film Studies from Hollins University. In his free time, Sam enjoys writing, watching movies, playing handbells, and freelancing as an “amateur professional” organizing consultant.