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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Spiritual journey: From teacher to investor to pastor

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tom and Laurie Bierovic say they've been warmly welcomed to Shelbyville.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney) [Order this photo]
Tom Bierovic was a middle school English teacher in Wheaton, Ill., but he knew how to manage money, and soon found some success trading in stocks and commodities.

"I had some ideas about trading," he said.

Tom Bierovic poses with his collection of Native American flutes.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
In fact, he was so successful at it that he developed a second career, writing three books on the subject, including "Playing for Keeps in Stocks and Futures: Three Top Trading Strategies that Consistently Beat the Markets," released in 2001 and still available from booksellers.

World traveler

He traveled to 40 different countries for clients like Dow Jones, Goldman Sachs and the Chicago Board of Trade, teaching seminars on investment techniques. You can find excerpts of his presentations on YouTube.

He was interviewed by magazines about his ideas, which involved applying Buckminster Fuller's principle of synergetics to financial systems.

By age 55, he was retired, living in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where he and his wife Laurie attended Tropical Sands Christian Church.

That's when the middle school teacher-turned-investment guru was drawn to his third career.

A new calling

"The people were so good, the worship was so beautiful," said Bierovic. "I just felt closer and closer to God, almost day by day."

One day, sitting by the pool, he turned to Laurie and told her he wanted to go into the ministry.

A narrow, colorful building of small shops and apartments in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
(Submitted photo)
"She just said, 'I know,'" he recalled. "She knew before I did."

That journey has now led to Shelbyville, where Bierovic became pastor of First Christian Church on Jan. 1.

A native of Markham, Ill., near Chicago, Bierovic was the oldest of three boys. Their father ran a hardware store, their mother was a homemaker. Bierovic attended Central College in Pella, Iowa, where he majored in English and minored in philosophy and religion.

Major decisions

He took a year off between his junior and senior years to participate in a program called Adventure In Mission, which sent him to Our Savior's Church in Lakewood, Colo., to work as a youth minister. Laurie was one of the high school students there. They met in 1969, married three years later and have just celebrated their 40th anniversary.

After Bierovic's decision to enter the ministry, the couple moved to Lexington, Ky., where he entered Lexington Theological Seminary and she began work for a hospice program.

While a seminarian, he pastored at Mill Creek Christian Church in Mays Lick, Ky. Bierovic graduated in 2009 with a master of divinity and was ordained at Central Christian Church in Lexington. He spent 2 1/2 years at Stokesdale, N.C., First Christian Church before answering the call to Shelbyville.

Warm welcome

He says the reception he's gotten in Shelbyville has been "amazing."

"People have welcomed us with open arms and Southern hospitality," he said.

He said his goal for First Christian is for the congregation to become even more deeply spiritual, to not only talk about God's love and presence but to experience them in deep and personal ways.

Bierovic's world travels during his previous career have given him new ways to talk about and experience that spirituality.

One of Bierovic's favorite foreign destinations is Istanbul, Turkey. This mosaic of Jesus was created when the Hagia Sophia there was an Orthodox basilica, then plastered over when it was a Muslim mosque, uncovered and restored now that the building is a multicultural museum.
(Submitted photo)
He demonstrates different bells used in India and Tibet to help encourage spiritual focus, and explains how they can be used in worship. He collects Native American flutes and has just begun collecting Irish whistles.

"I play clarinet -- badly," he said.

He also enjoys backgammon.

Favorite city

Of the scores of cities he's visited around the world, he recalls Istanbul, Turkey, as a particular favorite.

"To me, that was the most fascinating place," he said, with both Roman ruins and Muslim mosques. The city has modern neighborhoods as well as 1,000-year-old neighborhoods where donkey carts still run through the narrow streets.

An underground cistern is the site for chamber music performances and was featured in an underground speedboat chase in the James Bond film "From Russia With Love." The Hagia Sophia started life as an orthodox basilica, then was later used as a mosque, and since 1935 has been a museum with exhibits from both religions.

Bierovic's installation services will be held Sunday, Feb. 19, during the 10 a.m. worship service. Glen Stewart, a regional minister for the Disciples of Christ, will lead the ceremony.

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