March 28, 2010. Palm Sunday. Two very important things happened in my life on that day. That morning was the day I decided to answer God’s call and formally enter into the process of ordination to the priesthood. I had been a member of the Roman Catholic Church growing up, and I had always found the sacramental liturgy and communal worship to be deeply important to me. I wanted to be a part of bringing that same connection to others in the church, but my views on women in the priesthood, married priests, and homosexuality were unacceptable. As a child, I was discouraged from asking questions or exploring challenging views of the church, being told that it demonstrated a lack of faith. It was not until I joined The Episcopal Church that I found a home that celebrated the sacramental tradition that feeds and restores me while also embracing tolerance and diversity. Here I can devote my life to having a lasting impact on helping others to learn and grow, finding value in themselves and seeking ways to contribute to society. We all have an opportunity to take the lives we have been given and use them to enrich our relationships with one another, create more love in this world, and celebrate God’s gift of creation. I try to lead by example, being a thoughtful and compassionate steward over this creation.
On the evening of that same Palm Sunday, I was introduced to my future wife, Katie. I had recently joined her parish of St. Paul’s in Indianapolis. We were both involved in several St. Paul’s groups together, including our Education for Ministry group, where we got to know each other even better. I had no idea how much meeting Katie would change my life and my entire perspective on what it means to love. We were married in the very same church where we met and served together. I could never have asked for a more loving, generous, and supporting companion through my life. I am truly graced by God to be able to share my journey with her.
We welcomed our first son, Elliott, into the world in 2014 and our second son, Owen, in 2016. We are very excited to find out the kind of people they grow into in the world. Everyday they inspire me and teach me about myself and the world around me, and I hope to do my part as a father to offer the same for them.
Before deciding to pursue my call to the priesthood I was a teacher. I studied at Eastern Michigan University to be a high school social studies teacher and eventually ended up working for EMU in their Department of Academic Affairs. Education has always been extremely important to me and I am firm believer in the value of lifelong learning. I worked primarily with at-risk students in the educational system, helping them find the resources and support they needed to succeed in pursuing their educations. It has been and continues to be a passion of mine to reach out and inspire people to think of things in new and challenging ways–particularly our youth, who will have so much to offer the world if we give them the opportunity to grow into the people they have the potential to be.
I have served in a variety of occupations that have each contributed to forming me in important ways. Ranging from teaching in schools to managing a staff in the business world, from training people in hospitality to working as a political campaign staffer and singing in a praise band, I firmly believe God put these experiences in my path to equip me to lead others creatively and passionately. To that end, I believe we all have a cornucopia of experiences and talents that form us to be better stewards of this world and a support network for each other.
After deciding to pursue my call to the priesthood, I studied at Indiana Wesleyan University for a degree in religious studies, concentrating on Biblical literature. I did my first year of seminary at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. It is an ecumenical seminary with a focus on bridging the divide between denominations and opening a dialogue where we can learn from each other and build a stronger community together. I completed my final two years of seminary at Virginia Theological Seminary, where I focused on an immersion in Anglican liturgy, comparative theology, restorative justice, family systems theory, prophetic preaching, and parish administration. For my field education, I chose to work at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church and Day School in Washington DC, where I could gain a quality education in leading a parish as well as school chaplaincy.
After my ordination, I stayed on at St. Patrick’s, focusing on their community outreach and social justice work. From there, I was called to the Diocese of Texas, where I served both as a Curate at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Day School in Waco TX and as the College Missioner at Baylor University. Much of my focus in Waco was on pastoral care, formation, administration, and continuing to learn and grow in my life as a priest. When the rector of St. Paul’s departed in early 2015, I took on many of the operational leadership roles while the parish conducted their rector search, learning a great deal in the process as I care for this parish in transition. At the school, I led chapel and religious studies classes, provided pastoral care for the students and teachers, and served on the school board. At Baylor University, I oversaw all operations at the Episcopal Student Center, including presiding over the board, fundraising, financial planning and management, lay empowerment, strategic planning for the physical plant, and of course worship, fellowship, formation, outreach, and pastoral care. All of these experiences coalesced to help me be a more well-rounded and experienced priest to those entrusted to my care.
In 2017, I was called to serve as the rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont, Texas. This is an exciting new chapter both in my personal faith journey and in my leadership in the Church. The people of St. Stephen’s have entrusted themselves into my care and guidance. In return, I strive to empower, comfort, challenge, and celebrate them on their own faith journeys. Together, we are entering into a deeper relationship with each other and our God. We are called to be stewards of this world that God has created, and only in loving each other and learning from one another can we hope to respond to this profound mission to the best of our ability. I am excited to see where God is leading us all next.
Outside of being a priest, I have a collection of hobbies. I love cooking, watching cooking shows on TV, and going to celebrity chef restaurants. I especially enjoy experimenting with exotic foods and new dishes, because I love playing host with dishes that surprise and excite dinner guests. I have recently ventured into brewing beer, which is a fun and challenging mix of one part cooking and one part chemistry! I enjoy playing handyman around the house/church/school. Fixing broken appliances, furniture, plumbing, etc. gives me a satisfying sense of working with my hands. I also enjoy running and cycling and regularly participate in charity/fundraising races. My wife is teaching me how to become a football fan, though I grew up watching ice hockey and continue to be fascinated.
Finally, here is some shameless promotion of my sons, of whom I am unabashedly proud despite what an enigma they are to me: