My background before the priesthood is being a teacher. Being a pastoral, encouraging, and effective teacher remains one of my passions. I started out going into teaching high school Social Studies before ending up in education administration at Eastern Michigan University. I continue to believe that, as our Book of Common Prayer states, teaching is one of the core aspects of what it means to serve a people as their priest.
The mission statement of the National Association of Episcopal Schools highlights that we are called to affirm learning that incorporates both faith and reason, to nurture our children to grow into the leaders our world needs, and to celebrate our diversity as a source of enlightenment. In my experience serving at Episcopal schools, I have made it my mission to support this call.
The first Episcopal School I served in was St. Patrick’s Day School in Washington DC. I began there as a seminarian. I had chosen to study and serve at St. Patrick’s Church in part because I wanted to grow into an effective school chaplain for teachers and children alike as well as to hone my religious studies teaching skills. I worked primarily with children from Pre-K to 8th grade.
I continued to serve at St. Patrick’s after my ordination to the diaconate. Through helping teach religious studies and leading school chapel services, I gained an appreciation for the careful balance needed to achieve both high quality academics and essential Christian formation. I also learned the respect, clear communication, and openness that is needed to balance the vision of the school with the vision of its associated parish.
The next Episcopal School at which I served has been St. Paul’s in Waco TX. As a priest, I serve this school as chaplain, worship leader, and religious studies teacher as part of a team of clergy and lay people who care for the formation and education of our children. With students ranging from 2 years old to 6th grade, I have learned a great deal about how to approach children where they are in their personal development, both academically and spiritually.
After both the Rector of St. Paul’s Church and the Head of School of the St. Paul’s School departed in early 2016, I took on many of the rector’s typical responsibilities, including those on the school board, school finance committee, and search committee for the new Head of School. This has been a time of immense personal formation as well as an honor to lead, teach, and pastor to our students and faculty during this time.
I am excited to see where God leads me next in my call to serve. I am positive that my passion for teaching God’s people will continue to be an important part of my vocation in surprising and exciting ways.
The following two videos are samples of school chapel sermons from St. Paul’s School in Waco: