I am a born-and-raised South Carolinian. I grew up in a small town,
Leesville, not far from the capital, Columbia. My dad worked at a chemical
plant in Columbia since I can remember. My mom worked different jobs throughout
my childhood, ending up working to this day at the Batesburg-Leesville
school district office. I have one older sister, Debbie, who lives in
Georgia with her two children, Emily and Avery. Despite my distance from
them, my family remains close and gets together any chance we get.
Upon graduating high school, I attended Newberry College, a small, ELCA
liberal arts college, where I majored in Religion and Philosophy. Following
college, I spent the summer as a counselor at a Lutheran camp in North
Carolina. I then took that year after college to volunteer in City Year,
a division of Americorps. My particular team in City Year planned and
taught 4th grade character education curriculum in Columbia, as well as
participated and led after-school programs in the neighboring school districts.
During that year, I was also a part-time youth director at my home church
Lora also hails from South Carolina, growing up in the growing town of
Aiken. She attended Winthrop University (in SC) and majored in elementary
education. Lora is, to me, an example of faith and a God-sent partner.
She enjoys music and reading, as well as an occasional game of racquetball.
We met in the summer of 1999 at a mutual friendís party. Our relationship
grew over the summer, and we began dating in the fall of í99. We wedded
in the summer of 2003, at which time we moved to Gettysburg, so that I
could attend the Lutheran Seminary there. On March 23, 2007, we had our
first child, our daughter Elena Lesley.
My decision to come to seminary, along with my sense of call to parish
ministry, did not happen all at once. It was, however, shaped by sudden
tragedy. During the same summer that I met Lora, in 1999, my next-door
neighbor and lifelong best friend, William, died in an automobile accident.
His death brought his closest friends together that summer. We supported
and cared for one another, and lived through our grief together. When
I returned to college in the fall, I had a renewed appreciation for community
and relationships. I had started college with a major in Computer Science;
by the end of my college career, I had a major in Religion and Philosophy.
During our years at seminary, Lora and I have learned to appreciate the
idea and the ideal of community, which I now hold as an important and
integral component of the Churchís faith and life. I am at heart a theologian,
basking in the complexities of our faith, and growing ever more comfortable
in the tensions that exist within a faithful life. I enjoy playing the
guitar, reading, movies, and am a major college football fan. Go Tigers
( the Tigers of Clemson, that is)! My favorite passage from Scripture
is Isaiah 55.
I am excited to serve Trinity. During my time before seminary, and in
my field work during seminary, I naturally gravitated toward youth and
young adult ministry. There is genuine curiosity and inquisitiveness,
along with a strong desire to serve. And, of course, there is an energy
about youth and young adults that is hard to contain. This is what makes
this particular ministry of the Church so exciting for me. I am glad God
has called me here to be your pastor.