I am passionate about faith development, spiritual formation, preaching, and writing; and I have been profoundly influenced by my participation in the Upper Room’s Two Year Academy for Spiritual Formation. The Christian mystics of the Middle Ages, as well as the writings of the early Christians a presented by the book The Sayings of the Desert Fathers fascinate me because I believe these early Christians along with St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, the writer of The Cloud of Unknowing, and the like, have much wisdom to convey to us in a modern age.
My goal in worship is to help connect the ordinary person with the Spirit of the Living God as revealed to the world in Jesus Christ. For me, worship means singing old and new hymns, chanting our prayers, grounding ourselves in the beautiful rituals and sacraments of the church, embracing the prayer of silence, and deeply listening to the Word of God as proclaimed in Scripture. One of the foundational scriptures that shapes me is “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).
Being influenced by and formed by many people and their writings and teaching, I give particular thanks for the lives and works of modern folk like Roberta Bondi, Kathleen Norris, Parker Palmer, Howard Thurman, and Richard Rohr. In addition to the sense of fulfillment I receive from working for God in the church, I also enjoy gardening, walking, and running.
As for “where I come from” and my background in work and school, I grew up in the very small town of Hurtsboro, AL. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Huntingdon College, with double majors in English and History. After graduating from Candler School of Theology at Emory University with a Master of Divinity, I began serving as a pastor in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. From 1998 – 2009, I served in four appointments within our conference. Just before my appointment in January 2017, I served at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Panama City, Florida, I spent several years in Toronto, Ontario serving as a pastor in the United Church of Canada.
In addition to pastoral duties in the local church, I served as the chairperson of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry for the annual conference from 2005-2009 and as a member of the CORE Team, the Alabama-West Florida annual conference leadership group. This work was particularly gratifying because of my belief in the need for the church to make intentional efforts to reach and be in ministry with young adults. I have also worked closely with conference and district United Methodist Women’s groups, Clergywomen in Ministry, the Commission on the Status and Role of Women committee, and the Youth Ministry Academy. Another facet of my ministry is in the written word. I have been published in two editions of The Abingdon Preaching Annual 2011 & 2012, The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2014 & 2015, the Upper Room’s Disciplines 2015, and I write my own blog called An Everyday Mystic (http://aneverydaymystic.wordpress.com/).