Pastor Ted Hamilton
Born in Northern California and raised in Southern California, Ted is the first child of a Los Angeles attorney and a mom who was a part-time dental hygienist. Though they had always attended church, it was wasn’t until the so-called “Jesus Movement” in the early 1970s that Ted, along with his parents and two sisters, really began to more fully submit their lives to the radical Lordship of Jesus Christ. Those were life-changing years, as Ted kept one foot in the organized church and the other foot in the Bible studies and home-based groups more characteristic of the Jesus Movement in those years.
Ted’s family had moved to Huntington Beach when he was in Junior High. There, in addition to his school studies (which he had probably always taken a little too seriously), Ted became an avid sailor, which complemented his other sporting love – snow skiing.
Ted followed in his dad’s footsteps and attended Stanford University, followed by Stanford Law School. Between college and law school, Ted took two years off to work as a buyer for Ford Aerospace in Newport Beach. During those two years, the most important events were Ted’s meeting and marrying Linda Penney – who has since been his best-friend and constant companion for twenty-nine years. Linda, who had grown up in Laguna Beach and graduated from UCLA, was working as an elementary schoolteacher. After they married in 1979, Ted and Linda moved up to Palo Alto, where Linda excelled as a teacher and put Ted through law school.
After Ted graduated from law school in 1983, they returned to their Southern California roots and made a home in Irvine. Ted practiced business and tax law in the Newport Beach office of the L.A.-based international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, representing many private and public companies, as well as entrepreneurs.
To Ted and Linda's great joy, Sarah Marie and James Edward joined the family in 1985 and 1988 respectively. Sarah graduated from Covenant College in 2008 with an English/Theatre degree. A gifted and nuanced actress, Sarah is currently working for White Horse Media – the publisher of Modern Reformation magazine and producer of the White Horse Inn radio program. In 2008, Ted had the joyous honor and pleasure of officiating at Sarah’s marriage to a terrific young man, Clint Dudley. Appropriately enough, Sarah and Clint are beginning their new life together as members of New Life. Jim graduated from UC Irvine (Go Anteaters!) in 2010 with a degree in Classics and he is currently exploring his career options.
In the mid-1990’s, Ted gradually became convinced that God’s call on his life was changing. Finally, after much prayer, deliberation and consultation with people whose judgment he respected, Ted resigned from O’Melveny & Myers in 1997 and enrolled at Westminster Seminary California. He graduated in 2000 and was called to be the Pastor of Adult Ministries at Voyagers Bible Church in Irvine, the Hamilton’s home church. After a wonderful year in that role, Ted received the call from New Life to be Senior Pastor. His first act at New Life was to lead an impromptu prayer service on the night of September 11, 2001.
Ted’s passion is preaching Jesus Christ from all of the Scriptures. As Ted says, “Jesus himself said in Luke 24 that all of the Scriptures testify of him (and he was referring there to what we know as the Old Testament). Fundamentally, the Christian gospel is not a formula for living; nor is it a list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, it is the proclamation that the Creator has broken into time and space in the person of Jesus to set right his entire created order – animate and inanimate. The gospel, therefore, embraces all of life. Indeed, the Bible is really one grand story, one metanarrative, if you will, of the all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God pursuing his cosmic reclamation project – past, present and future. The gospel is not an invitation to make God part of our agenda. It is a call on our lives to turn and respond to God’s love and mercy -- demonstrated preeminently in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus -- and serve him and his agenda. The Westminster Catechism says it well – ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.’ That’s what we try to do at New Life.”
When he’s not following his primary passion of preaching, you can find Ted in an Eastern Sierra trout stream waving a fly rod, skiing down a run at Mammoth, kayak fishing in La Jolla, riding the trails of North County on his mountain bike, or stinking up a golf course somewhere. What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in passion and enjoyment.
Portraits of Ted from the young artists of New Life
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