Pastoral Staff

Aaron Engler
  • Lead Pastor


Born and raised in rural Minnesota, Aaron studied finance at the University of Minnesota and then worked as a banker before attending Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Prior to planting Highrock North Shore in 2012, Aaron served on staff at Highrock Arlington (2007-2012), where he served as the Pastor to Young Adults. He is a native of the North Shore, and is devoted to his wife Ariel and their daughter Elsie. Aaron gets passionate about teaching God's story of redemption, seeing sold out followers of Jesus, University of Minnesota College Hockey, and celebrating the life God has given to us, His people. Aaron is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator.

Brynn Harrington
  • Senior Associate Pastor


Brynn grew up in Southern California, but moved to the North Shore in 2002 to study theology and writing at Gordon College. It didn't take long for Brynn to fall in love with the North Shore coastline, Captain Dusty's ice cream, and her now husband Aaron, a Massachusetts native. Yes, we know it's confusing - Brynn is married to an Aaron and also works for an Aaron and they're different guys. After college, she spent time working with churches in California and Georgia before heading back i[ north to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Brynn gets excited about seeing God's Kingdom breaking in all over the community, encouraging others to live into their unique gifts, and throwing massive parties. Brynn is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator.

Angie Giancola
  • Youth Pastor


Angie was born in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and lived there until moving to Blacksburg to attend Virginia Tech. Upon graduating in 2013, she uprooted to the North Shore to pursue a Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An avid sports fan, Angie enjoys cheering on her Hokies and coaching volleyball at Salem High School. Over the next few years, she hopes to engage the rich sports culture of New England by attending events at each of the major venues in the area. Angie is passionate about prayer, deep conversation, and seeing middle school and high school students discover and engage their faith in today’s culture.

brent linnihan
  • Assistant Pastor


Brent spent his formative years in rural Oklahoma, studied Biblical Languages at Oklahoma Baptist University, and then attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he obtained his Master of Divinity. Prior to serving on staff at Highrock North Shore, Brent obtained his second Master’s Degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He's devoted to Hilary, his wife and high school sweetheart, and their chihuahua, Sugar Babe. Brent gets excited about teaching the story of God, playing board games with friends, chopping wood, making and drinking good coffee, hiking in the mountains, watching and listening to marching bands, and reading quality books.

Gene Park
  • Staff


Gene was born and raised in Northern California. While studying I.T. at San Jose State University, he developed an undeniable passion to be in ministry that led him to pursue a Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Gene gets jazzed about sharing the story of God, serving the church from behind the scenes, engaging in quality conversations, and cooking a variety of cuisines. Here is a fun fact: He can speak Japanese (just not fluently yet). He has been on two incredible missionary trips to Japan and plans to go again in the near future.

Eva Smidt
  • Executive Assistant &
  • Treasurer


Eva spent her younger years moving between Southern California, South Carolina, and the Congo. After graduating Gordon College in 2011 and marrying Colby, another New England transplant, they decided to put down roots on the North Shore. Eva studied Communication Arts and spent the last 8 years in Account Management at a Boston-based digital marketing agency. She enjoys the snow (but wishes winter was just a couple months shorter) and could spend every day at the beach in the summer. Eva loves to sing, hang out with friends, and spend time with their son Jackson and two cats.

Board of Ministry Leaders

Brian James
  • Director of Music and Worship Arts


Brian is a songwriter, performer, and an 8th Grade English teacher. Brian grew up in Salem and studied writing and education at Salem State University. He lives in Salem with his wife Kerrie and their three kids. He and his family enjoy the vitality, history and culture of the Derby Wharf neighborhood, and love to be part of a nearby church that values local people and arts.  

Melissa Nystedt
  • Director of Kidsrock


Melissa is a native New Englander and grew up in Topsfield, MA. She didn’t travel far to attend Gordon College for her Bachelor degree in Social Work. Melissa has worked for a youth mentoring organization for over a decade. She is passionate about partnering with parents and the entire Highrock community to engage our children so they can experience and know the love of God personally—and have a lot of fun along the way. Her husband Carl grew up in Salem where they currently live with their gregarious son, Simon. You can often find the whole family spending time outdoors. Melissa treasures the coziness of New England winters, would rarely turn down an offer to play games, and is known to knit adorable stuffed animals.

Sage Shaw
  • Executive Director - Open Door Immigration Services


Sage joined Open Door Immigration Services in November 2018 and oversees all programs for the organization. Sage has received ILRC immigration law certification and is in the process of becoming accredited by the Department of Justice.


Activities & Affiliations:

Immigration Advocates Network, Member
World Relief Technical Legal Assistance, Member
North Shore Latino Business Association



B.S. Business Administration and Spanish University of Mary Washington
Executive MBA Universidad de Deusto
Certificate, ILRC Basic Immigration Law