Meet Our Mission Committee: John Burns

I am very blessed to have many dedicated members of the Mission Mommittee. These FPC members devote countless hours of their time and assist me with mission budget allocation, grant reviews, as well as serving as coordinators for various subcommittees and/or as liaisons with mission partners. The Mission Committee is comprised of elders, deacons, PW representatives and at-large church members. I couldn’t do my job effectively without their help and I want you to have the opportunity to get to know them better.

Kathy Johnson
Director of Community Outreach
First Presbyterian Church

Mission Committee Member:

  • John Burns
    2021 Missions Moderator and Current Elder
  • Joined FPC:
    We moved to Raleigh in January 2001 and attended FPC occasionally. We joined shortly after the church called Ed as Pastor.
  • Family:
    Married for 23 years to Janice Skelly. We met in law school at Wake Forest. We have three wonderful kids: Duncan, who is a Junior at App State, Eleanor, who is a Senior at Sanderson High School, and Lincoln, who is entering 9th grade at the Accelerator Hockey Academy in Morrisville. We have one dog, Addie, whose first outing with us as a puppy was a Senior High Youth Group meeting.
  • Career:
    I am an attorney. After 20 years of private practice, I am now in house as the General Counsel of the Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association, where I help represent the interests of utility-scale renewable energy companies in North and South Carolina.

Kathy: Why do you feel missions are important to FPC?

John: I believe the essence of our faith is set forth in Matthew 25:31-46. We are called as a church and as individuals to care for the sick, the hungry, and the homeless. This mission is especially present for a downtown church like ours, and I think the Missions work that our church does in our immediate community and around the world is how we manifest Christ’s love. If we didn’t do that, I think we’d be missing the point entirely.

Kathy: What mission are you most closely affiliated with and why?

John: Well, I am currently President of the Board of Trustees of the William Black Lodge in Montreat. I’ve been on that board for a number of years, ever since my family and I started going there with the youth group when our children were very young. It’s a special place that is designed to provide a quiet and reflective space for ministers and lay leaders of small congregations to rest and recover from the really difficult job they do. We fund that mission by operating it as an Inn where anyone can stay or host a Montreat-related event. We’ve guided the Lodge through a lot of changes over the last 10 years or so, and it’s great to see it come out of the pandemic in a position to offer a place for ministry and relaxation that people feel safe using. Closer to home, I really appreciate the work that Triangle Family Services does to assist families in need in Wake County. I worked with them as a County Commissioner, and I am proud that our church is a significant supporter of their work.

Kathy: What was your most memorable trip or vacation?

John: Our best family vacation was to the Grand Canyon and Southern California about 7 years ago. It wasn’t a convenient time for a trip, but we made it work and dropped everything and went for 10 days. The kids were the perfect age and it was just a great vacation. My most memorable trip was taking a youth group at my former church to South Africa on a mission trip. Still the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

Kathy: What is an item on your bucket list?

John: A trip to New Zealand.

Kathy: What is something positive that you’ve experienced during the pandemic that you may incorporate into your life going forward?

John: We have been able to sit down and eat as a family a lot more often than in the “Before Times.” I hope we can keep that going, because it’s so important.

Kathy: If you could invite 3 people (living or dead, fictional or real) to dinner, who would they be and why?

John: Jesus Christ, of course, so I could ask all the questions, though I suspect the answers would be in parables that I’d have to figure out. But I sure would like to get some of the info straight from the source. Anthony Bourdain, because he knew so much about food and was able to explain it and relate it to culture so well. The world would be a better place if he were still in it, and what an interesting dinner companion he would be. And my Grandmother Atwood, because she would ask them both fantastic questions, would keep up with Bourdain on the cooking, and I miss her.