I am a husband of over twenty years to Elinor and father to two teenagers. I love photography, (particularly of my kids’ activities), road cycling, and going to spin classes. I’ve studied and applied Systems Centered Group Theory™ for twelve years and been an ordained Episcopal priest for eleven.
Before the age of twenty-nine, I moved ten times – from Japan to Virginia and numerous places in between. After graduating MIT in 1998, with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (focused on Artificial Intelligence), I became a Marine Corps Communications Officer. Five years later, I deployed from Okinawa, Japan, to Baghdad, Iraq, for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
One Sunday during worship services in Saddam Hussein’s palace, the priest caught my attention and motioned for me to come forward. He immediately gave me a “battlefield promotion” to Lay Eucharistic Minister, handed me the chalice, and we distributed the body and blood of Christ to people headed into a warzone. In that moment, the gift of Jesus’ incarnate life, death, and resurrection embodied in Holy Eucharist became uniquely real. Less than a year later, I began the formal ordination discernment process. Five years later, after leaving the Marine Corps and through many more conversations, I realized that my faith, gifts, and passions intersected in the vocation of Episcopal priest.
In 2009, I left my short career as a systems engineer and business developer for various defense contractors and entered Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). There I was led to take The History of the Black Church at Howard University School of Divinity and to serve as a seminarian-intern at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Washington, an historically Black Episcopal Church that was led by the Rev. Dr. Canon Kortwright Davis and the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas. Both experiences shattered my concept of church and transformed my understanding of life outside of my privileged white male heterosexual cisgender existence. At the end of the internship when I asked for guidance, the Rev. Douglas admonished me, “Go to your people.”
In 2014, After two years as an associate at a parish, I was called as the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church Sharon Chapel in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2015, I began serving on the planning team of the Triangle of Hope (ToH), an initiative of repentance and reconciliation between the dioceses of Virginia; Kumasi, Ghana; and Liverpool, UK. By 2016, I was in Ghana for a planning meeting and touring Cape Coast Castle. The castle tour started in the male slave dungeon. We then proceeded through the female slave dungeon, walked through the Door of No Return, saw the officers’ apartments, and ended at the chapel. The chapel at Cape Coast Castle is the site of the first Anglican celebration of Holy Eucharist in Ghana and is built directly above the male slave dungeon. The first celebration of Holy Eucharist in Ghana was directly above hell on earth. Standing as a priest in that chapel, nothing I had been taught could answer the cries I heard from the dungeon below. Where was Christ in that Eucharistic celebration?
Those questions never left me but rather echoed more loudly as I rediscovered my parish’s history. Our property was donated by an enslaver and we had known for decades the names, ages, and genders of nineteen people held by the family on our land. The altar upon which I consecrated bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ sits atop land saturated with the bodies, blood, sweat, and toil of people enslaved, just like at Cape Coast Castle.
In 2017, I traveled with other clergy to attend a counter-protest to white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA. As we began forming a human barrier against the neo-Nazis, I asked an organizer for any specific instructions. She said firmly, “You, stand in front.”
My experiences in Ghana, my questions about Holy Eucharist, and the admonition of Charlottesville fueled more questions and lead me in 2019 to the doctoral program at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University (STVU). Embraced, once again, as the only white student in a class at an HBCU, STVU became God’s tool for my ongoing transformation and liberation in Christ. In May of 2022 I graduated with a DMin. My thesis was, “Leave Your Gift at the Altar: Redoing Eucharistic Theology in Light of Slavery through a Justice-Centered Community.”
While studying at STVU, I joined a group of lay and clergy people of the dioceses organizing for racial justice in our annual budget. Later, I became the co-leader of that group, “Good Trouble, Diocese of Virginia,” and spearheaded successful legislation in 2022 creating a $10 million fund to begin the work of reparations in our diocese.
In the Spring of 2021, I began as the Program Coordinator for Deep Calls to Deep (DC2D), a preaching formation ministry of VTS. I have served on the Pay Equity Task Force, the Committee on Priesthood, and am currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia.
God continues to use my disruptive experiences and God’s disruptive Spirit in and through my life to affirm my ministry as an Episcopal priest tasked with interrupting normative white supremacy in the Church.