Senior Pastor of Eastside Covenant Church
Class of 2012, Political Science major
He came to SPU thinking he was going to study law. God had other plans — but Taylor Burgoyne, senior pastor at Eastside Covenant Church—doesn’t regret for a minute that he majored in political science before he followed a sense of God’s calling to seminary and the pastorate.
A class in global and urban ministries, “ignited my passion for theology,” Burgoyne says. “It helped me realize my passions for justice, faith, and politics were not necessarily separate from each other — that they were biblically supported.”
Following graduation, he dove into three years at North Park Seminary and emerged with a master of divinity program and a certificate in congregational vitality. Now he serves as senior pastor at Eastside Covenant Church in Tucson, Arizona, a small church with a big heart for the world.
Because of the church’s proximity to the U.S.–Mexico border, the issue of immigration is inescapable, Burgoyne says. The church is currently helping provide basic resources and support to families who have fled violence in Guatemala and must wait for months to find out whether they will receive refugee status. The church crosses denominational lines to partner with other churches and organizations, such as Catholic Social Services, to serve refugees and asylum seekers. Burgoyne also connects with clergy across Tucson to advocate and pray for peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
These connections are signs of church health that Burgoyne believe matter more than growing numbers, he says. “I see a healthy congregation that’s committed in growing in their own walk with Jesus and in serving our community.”
— Hannah Notess
Currently the senior pastor of Eastside Covenant Church in Tucson, Arizona, Burgoyne is passionate about serving his congregation and helping to advance the Kingdom of God. He has been involved in Muslim-Christian peacemaking for a few years now, traveled to the Middle East twice in the past five years, and hopes to return as often as possible. Throughout his travels he contributed to a film titled Our Land about reconciliation in Israel/Palestine centered on the teachings of Jesus.
How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?
It was at SPU that I developed a passion for faith and justice as well as a deep love for the academic study of Scripture. This has served me well not only as I continued my education onward into my master’s program but also currently as I seek to pastor a congregation that is socially conscious and engaged with the world around us.
Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?
Dr. Sara Koenig was incredibly influential in my decision to pursue ministry. She guided me through some rough patches when I was attempting to reconcile Scripture and my previously held theological beliefs. Perhaps most importantly she walked alongside me while I was developing a deep love for the Old Testament and gracefully showed me how to hold my truths lightly without sacrificing conviction.
What advice would you give to current SPU students?
When it gets scary or overwhelming, pray through it, God is with you.