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Wheat Field


“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

Jesus. The Messiah. God’s only begotten Son.  Savior. Christ.  God with us on earth. My Lord and my God. Since early childhood I have known and loved this Jesus. It was not until I reached my early twenties that my devotion to Jesus would change to include a personal commitment to “church” as well. 

By then, I had begun to see that there was little about how I lived my 20-something life that signified I was a Christian. When I read in the Bible, “whoever is not with Jesus is against Jesus” (Matthew 12:30), and “There is no one who is righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10), I exchanged my self-satisfying perception that God was alright with me for the question, “Am I alright with God?” I begin to pray, “Lord, get me to the church on time.”  At age 22, I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ, joined the Baptist Church, and moved from the rank of member to disciple. I was all in.

As hard as I fell in love with Jesus, I fell in love with the Church.  Sunday worship, choir, Wednesday Bible Study, outreach, evangelism ministry – I immersed myself in church life and people. After six awe-inspiring years, I began hearing God call me to feed God’s sheep.  In the two years of discernment that followed, I learned what God’s call would mean for me.


Pastoral ministry.  Empowerment of the laity.  Building up the Church.  Evangelism. Teaching. Preaching. Appreciating order and understanding chain of command.  These are the things God impressed upon me as essential to the life God was calling me to live.


Eventually I figured out this vision was not going to fit within the Baptist tradition and context I loved so dearly. With a heavy heart, a heart that did not believe I could ever again find a faith community that would bring me such joy, I threw up my hands and demanded of God, “Where do I go from here?”

Was I ever wrong to doubt God! Episcopalians came out of the woodwork. I could not deny that God was leading me into the Episcopal Church. 


Was the transition difficult?  In some ways.  The notion of how one justifies infant baptism troubled me for a couple of seminary years. The question would people be able to hear me plagued me a little longer.  I sorely missed the powerfully compelling music and fellow sojourners with whom I had grown close.  And the Episcopal gymnastics of juggling hymnal, prayerbook and bulletin took some time to master. But God surrounded me with people of strong faith, encouragement, and deep love for the Episcopal Church. 

The then Associate Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) introduced me to An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church.  The Rector of a Springfield, Virginia parish took me under her wing and walked me through the discernment and ordination process.  The then Diocesan Bishop opened the door for marginalized people – women and people of color – to have place in diocesan life.  And the Holy Spirit led me in finding a call to the church I now have served for nearly twenty years, Trinity Church in Arlington, Virginia.

Anyone who wonders how I could stay for nearly twenty years in the same place must have heard me tell God that I do not like treading water. I was accustomed to tackling one situation then moving onto the next. I soon learned the richness and depth of skill and relationship one gains when given the privilege of being an anchor in a rapidly changing environment. Every five to six years, along with a core of long-standing members, we faced a different pool of worshippers. Every five to six years, we engaged new opportunities and challenges.  Life has been far from boring.

My curriculum vitae provides details on the assorted roles I have played and ministry opportunities I have enjoyed. What the vitae does not capture is how my ongoing commitment to ensuring a permanent place and voice for children, youth and young adults in church life and worship has been sparked by their genuine hunger to find meaning and purpose and disdain for the squabbles that sometimes incapacitate the institutional church.  

Nor does the vitae capture the hard work Trinity and I have done building community through specific behaviors that deepened trust until our relationship changed like moving from night to day; the joy I have experienced working with seminarians, transitional deacons, new and adjunct priests, lay preachers, up to 22 lay staff professionals, and colleagues across The Episcopal Church (as Archdean of the Diocese of Virginia and National President of the Union of Black Episcopalians, for example); and/or how practicing radical hospitality both outside and within the parish has led me into invigorating relationships with people of diverse cultures and faiths around the world as well as across the worldwide Anglican Communion.

My time at Trinity has taught me that bearing fruit in Christian ministry, especially in serving the Church, requires investment in people, patience, a healthy appetite for messiness and boat loads of forgiveness, as well as an undying faith that God is persistently working all things together to the good for those who love God and are called according to God’s purposes.

I am convinced that The Episcopal Church is well-positioned to take the lead in realizing God’s dream of a Beloved Community where every nation, tribe, people and language have place and voice (Revelation 7:9). My prayer is that God will provide me opportunity to continue working towards that end.  My hope is that my work will empower others to do the same.

Trinity worshippers will recognize these words as the way I have concluded many services: Life is short, beloved, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us.  So be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and the blessing of God Almighty, the one who Creates, Redeems and Sanctifies, be upon you and all whom you love, this day and forever more.  Amen.

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