My story starts in a small town called Hookstown which is located in rural Western Pennsylvania.
Not too many people may believe that I really did grow up with horses in my backyard or that my high school really did have a “tractor day” where everyone rode their tractors to school. But for me, this rural upbringing in this small community 30 miles west of Pittsburgh really is where my story began.
In high school, I was involved in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and the Boy Scout of America where I earned the rank of Eagle Scout shortly before graduating from South Side High School in 2002. After high school, I attended the Community College of Beaver County while also working part-time as a grocery store clerk. Eventually, I went on to graduate from Slippery Rock University (SRU) with a B.S. in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism. At SRU, I served two years in AmeriCorps coordinating service projects. It was also during my time at SRU that I began to discover my passion for social-justice issues which stemmed from my experience leading a community service trip to Atlanta, Georgia where we worked with the city’s AIDS and homeless populations.
After college, I decided to pursue a calling into ministry and took a big leap of faith in my life by leaving my Pennsylvania roots and my family and moved to Northern California where I went on to earn a Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) in 2013. At SFTS, I had the opportunity to study the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, Frederick Buechner, and the other theological greats while learning from wonderful professors. While at SFTS, I also served as a communications associate working with the seminary’s public relations department and served as a church intern at First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo.
Following seminary, I served as a resident hospital chaplain in Portsmouth, Virginia as part of a Clinical Pastoral Education residency program. Through my experience as a resident hospital chaplain at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center where I spent a year working with patients and family members through the Clinical Pastoral Education program, I learned the art of spiritual listening and the importance of being a spiritual presence. Earning four CPE credits, I spent a year assigned to the psychiatric, hospice, and emergency units. I also spent time assigned to the local nursing home. Through my CPE experience, I gained Level I and Level II experiences totaling 2,000 hours of clinical pastoral education and patient spiritual care.
Following my residency, I worked for the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive. I started my Scouting career with my the council that I was part of as a youth in the Laurel Highlands Council in Pittsburgh. And in 2015, I relocated to California a second time and worked for the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council where I served the Monterey and Santa Cruz County Scouting programs. As a District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America with Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council, I worked first hand with community members, business leaders, and local civic organizations to create new opportunities for youth in the Salinas and Santa Cruz communities. Serving as manager and chief operating officer of my districts, I oversaw 50 operating organizations, 800 youth, and over 300 adult volunteers.
For two years, I served as the Minister for Community and Campus Relations at University Place Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Champaign, Illinois. At UniPlace, I oversaw community outreach programs, establishing over 20 relationships with UniPlace and the University of Illinois/ Champaign-Urbana Community. I also oversaw the UniPlace community dinner program and created a field study program which provided field experience for university students in non-profit leadership. At my time at UniPlace, I also created a program called “Beer and Theology” in Champaign-Urbana which fostered theological conversations for young adults in a non-church setting. Additionally, during my time at UniPlace, I became an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
In December 2016, I followed a call into military chaplaincy and became a chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserve. As a chaplain with the United States Air Force Reserve, I am providing spiritual care to airmen and their families, and counseling individuals and groups about spiritual and moral issues. I help airmen explore questions related to spirituality, religion, vocation and life purpose, and offering spiritual formation and discernment programs and individual counseling. As a military chaplain, I am also leading services to promote and encourage spiritual growth and exploration and attending to the morale of my unit; helping individuals process loss, regret, and stress.
My life has been a journey of discovery, wrestling and witnessing God’s movement in my life and in the world. And for me, my call into ministry intersect with my passions for church ministry, community outreach, and chaplaincy.
In Micah 6:8 we are called to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. And this is what I seek to do in my call. As an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), this is what defines my call.