I was born and raised in North Carolina and very proud of my heritage. If you listen to me preach, you’ll hear it! While I spent three years exiled in Virginia (grades 1-3), we moved to the Wilmington NC area when I was nine. I would live in the Wilmington area until I was out of college.
As a Boy Scout I became very involved in my local church while working on The God and County award. I was also the first youth deacon ordained at Cape Fear Presbyterian Church. After graduating from J. T. Hoggard High School, I attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. During college I worked in a wholesale bakery. A couple years after graduation, I started began working for the Boy Scouts of America. In 1986, when living in Hickory, NC, I finally answered the call to ministry. I enrolled at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. While in seminary I spent my first summer completing the Appalachian Trail and later summers directing a camp in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. I also took a year off from classes to serve as the student intern pastor for First Presbyterian Church of Virginia City, Nevada. I later earned a Doctorate of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, writing a dissertation that explored the role and history of the church on the area around Virginia City, Nevada that’s known as “The Comstock Lode.”
Being a pastor is a blessing. It allows me time to study of God’s word as I prepare for preaching and teaching, as well as time to reach out to those around me. Preaching and talking to people about how God is working in their lives are high points in ministry.
Outside of the church I enjoy anything that gets me outdoors and into God’s grand creation: backpacking, canoeing and kayaking, skiing, sailing, camping, fishing, and star gazing. I enjoy sharing such times with others. I have also traveled around the world on trains, ships, buses and boats. I have driven across the country on two-lane roads. When possible, I take off into the wilderness on foot or by canoe or kayak. Being in the wilderness helps me have a greater appreciation of the wonders of the world for which we’re God’s stewards. At home you might find me reading, writing, cooking, walking around the neighborhood or sharing a good joke. I’m a firm believer in Sunday afternoon naps as a way to fulfill the fourth commandment. God is good!
I met Donna shortly after graduation from seminary and we married in 1992. Donna was originally from Kennesaw, Georgia. She has a master’s degree in health communication from Michigan State. She directed the Barry Community Free Clinic in Hastings, Michigan, an organization that provides free medical and dental care to those in need. In addition, Donna served on the local school board. In Georgia, she managed the finances at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and also did grant work with Southern Utah University’s rural health care program, work she continues doing today. Donna enjoys reading, writing fiction, baking, sailing, biking, cross-country skiing, traveling, watching sports and walking the neighborhood while laughing (or rolling her eyes) at my jokes.
In 1990 I was ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament by the Presbytery of Western New York where I served as a designated pastor for the United Church of Ellicottville, a small ski community located 65 miles southeast of Buffalo. During my tenure in Ellicottville, I devoted time perfecting parallel turns on the ski slope while providing the community with much needed pastoral care, especially during the winter after the Buffalo Bills lost yet another Super Bowl. (The Bills were in the Super Bowl every year I was in Western New York and they lost them all!)
Late in 1993, I headed West for the mission field of Southwest Utah, where I was the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Cedar City. I served the congregation for ten years during a dramatic period of growth that included relocating and building a new facility.
During this time our family also grew. In 1997, we adopted Thomas, who was twelve years old. Thomas still lives in Cedar City, Utah. In 2010, he married Michelle and they have two sons: Ethan and Jeffrey.
In 1998 Caroline was born. She loves tennis and music and has lately taken up the art of quilting and spinning fiber. She also skis, enjoys sailing, traveling and, like her mom, watching sports.
In 2004 I was called to be pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hastings, Michigan, where, during my 10 year tenure, I led yet another relocation and building campaign. It’s probably a sin, but I’m proud that both of my previous congregations paid off their mortgages before I was called to a new ministry. Although we never know what God has in store for us, I pray I’m done with relocating churches.
I accepted the call to Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church (now Skidaway Community Church) in the summer of 2014. During my tenure, the church resumed holding Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans services as we recall our Scottish heritage. We have also started holding community Easter Sunrise Services at Landings Harbor Marina. My writings and photography were often featured in The Skinnie, a local magazine. I’ve also served as a volunteer firefighter and taught homiletics (preaching) at South University’s School of Theology. The church also instituted a set of “civility” events within the community to help people engage in their differences in a respectful manner. During my free time, I sailed or kayaked on the waters around Skidaway, bicycled around the island, and enjoyed our family dog, Mia.