I was born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1964, and was raised there, the second of six sons. My father, a medical doctor and professor at the Medical College of Georgia, was born in Macon, Georgia, and has a large extended family. My mother, from Livermore Falls, Maine, worked full time in our home as wife and mother. My faith journey begins in that setting as we attended St. John United Methodist Church every Sunday and participated in its programs and mission. My relationships and care in that congregation, particularly among the adults, have been an enduring element of my understanding of faith and of Christian community.
I attended Davidson College, a Presbyterian College in North Carolina. I graduated in ‘86 with a B.A. in English and with an additional concentration in Classical Civilization. There also, I met Caroline, a Religion major one year younger than I. In ‘88 I followed her to Atlanta, Georgia, her home town, and we were married in ‘89. I began my career as a high school Latin and English teacher while Caroline pursued a career as director of a large, church-based childcare center and a first-grade teacher. Our daughters Helen and Hannah were born in ’93 and ’95. After several years of discernment, I reluctantly left classroom teaching in ’99 to attend Columbia Theological Seminary. Graduating in 2002, I was called as pastor to Monticello Presbyterian Church, a small-town congregation in rural Georgia, 60 miles outside of Atlanta. My wife soon discerned a call to prepare for ministry, and in ’04 began her M.Div. studies, also at Columbia. Our son Jacob was born in ’05. My family lived and served happily in Monticello through January ’09, when we followed Caroline’s call to Indianapolis, where she was installed at a Presbyterian church in that city.
In Indianapolis, we did not feel that God was calling us to serve two separate congregations at the same time, particularly with three children at home. After a brief time as a stay-at-home parent, I returned to the classroom as Latin teacher at Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy, from ’09- ‘13. Part of my work here was the daunting task of teaching Latin to underprivileged inner- city youth. Four years in this position left me nearly burnt out. My wife encouraged me to take a break, and after some time for recovery and discernment I returned to parish ministry. I served a congregation in Connersville, Indiana as stated supply pastor for four months in ’14. I then served the congregation in Clayton, Indiana as interim pastor from September ’14 through March ’16. I also worked during this time as a barista and at the Amazon warehouse during the Christmas season. I was installed as the full-time pastor at Corydon Presbyterian Church in April, 2017. I have been a drummer for many years and currently enjoy playing at times with the choir in worship
Regarding my faith journey, …
I knew that I wanted to be a high school teacher from the time that I was in high school myself. I love what happens in a classroom whether I’m among the students or in front of them. Teaching has not been just a job or career for me, but rather a description of who I am. When I moved to Atlanta, I began attending church with Caroline, in the Presbyterian congregation that baptized and confirmed her. The love and care I had experienced as a child in my home congregation was extended here as well. After we were married, we were asked to lead a new Sunday school class for young couples, and we agreed, on the condition that we have two other couples as partners in the leadership. While leading and learning in this class, I experienced a dramatic growth in my faith. I came to understand my teaching career as a calling, and later that calling as a ministry. I taught the confirmation classes and began attending the Montreat Youth Conference with the youth group.
During this time, I found that the message of the Gospel was true, powerful and relevant to daily living. I also found that my gifts for teaching could be used in sharing the Gospel and in the theology and doctrine of our reformed tradition. My faith journey has been long and gradual, one of growing awareness rather than a blinding flash or a “come to Jesus” moment. While the journey extends well before and after this young adult period of my life, this was the pivotal time. From this point my understanding changed, reframing my life and all the world in the truth that the Kingdom of God is at hand.