Rev. Dr. James Michael Solberg

Join us Sunday, August 4th to celebrate the beginning of Mike’s ministry at the Union Church of Hinsdale. Thanks be to God! 

On June 23rd the members of Union Church voted to call J. Michael Solberg as our next Senior Minister. You can watch his sermon or download an MP3 of it at:

The Senior Minister Search Committee and Executive Council have identified an individual who would best fit the congregation’s preference for a Senior Minister, one who is approachable, with excellent preaching and leadership qualities, as well as a personality that would energize Union Church and set a vision of the future that excites and engages both long-time and new members.

The Search Committee and Executive Council unanimously present The Rev. Dr. James Michael Solberg as the candidate for Senior Minister of the Union Church of Hinsdale, subject to an affirmative Congregational vote on Sunday, June 23, 2013.

Rev. Solberg, who goes by Mike, has been the Senior Pastor at Second Congregational Church UCC of Rockford, Illinois, since 2002.  Mike is 49 years old and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois, a Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  Until his ministry at Second Congregational, Mike served Presbyterian churches.  He is fully accredited to serve UCC congregations.

Mike has been married to his wife, Janine, for 26 years.  Janine is an Advanced Placement history teacher at a Rockford high school.  Janine and Mike have a 22 year old son, Henry, now teaching English in China, and a daughter, Muriel, 19, who attends Brown University.

Outside of his ministerial duties, Mike loves to participate in endurance events such as Ironman Triathlons, ‘regular’ marathons, and the like.  In whatever free time he has left, he reads Jane Austen, John Irving, and Harry Potter, is a movie buff, and, as Mike puts it, when God is particularly gracious, he might take in a ballgame at Wrigley Field.

Rev. Solberg often leads by example. During a sabbatical in 2009, Mike raised funds for a now operating 750 student school in Waku Kungo, Angola, by successfully swimming the English Channel. The fund-raising effort ultimately collected $70,000 when the original target was $50,000.  Despite his protests, the school bears his name.

His broad leadership skills include community-directed initiatives such as the Jeremiah Neighborhood Development Organization, a US Justice Department Community Mediation project (both in Rockford), and the multi-denominational National Council of Churches, Faith and Order Commission.

Rev. Solberg is guided by the two lasting gifts pastors can bestow on their congregations:  one is roots, and the other is wings.  Through appealing and meaningful preaching, pastoral care and congregational leadership, Mike nurtures and develops roots in a congregation, an environment where people can cultivate and deepen their Christian faith, individually and together.  In addition, Rev. Solberg knows a congregation soars as if on wings when it is inspired to adapt its ministries to today’s realities.  A congregation that is actively engaged in the community and world transforms those touched by the congregation with God’s love and grace, and, in that service, members of the congregation are themselves transformed.

Rev. Mike emphasizes four qualities in his ministry to the people: creativity, insight, respect and vision.  References describe his easy sense of humor and his intellect as well as heart.  They consider Mike to be a strong and effective preacher, direct with his message and sound in theological and biblical content.  He connects with all age groups.  Mike has a strong commitment to education and learning at all levels.  In times of conflict, one reference described how Mike took the time to move and elevate discussions with all concerned from the specific incident to the bigger concerns and, once there, all involved were able to deal with causes, and not effects.

We hope you agree that Rev. Dr. James Michael Solberg has all the qualities our church needs to lead our congregation forward.

The Senior Minister Search Committee – Co-Chairs: Laura LaPlaca and Bob Reiland

Chuck Armstrong, Jill Barker, Irv Clarke, Dick Hill, Kasey Morris, Laura Nash,
Barb Parsons, Eley Thompson, Kevin Viravec, Rebecca Woodle

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