I was born in my parents’ house in the tiny town of English, WV, in July 1949. The doctor’s delivery bill was $25 and 24 ears of corn. In 1961, when my father left his work as a coal miner, my family moved north to Charleston, WV, where I completed public school and graduated from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) in 1971, having earned a BA in English and Speech.
In addition to decades of serving as an educator in secondary schools and colleges, I pursued my passion for teaching in Sunday School and church educational programs since my teenage years. During those years, I also earned MA and Ph.D. degrees in English at West Virginia University.
From 1985 to 1990, I took a break from my teaching career to become a licensed minister of the Church of the Nazarene in West Virginia and serve as Pastoral Associate for Davis Creek Church of the Nazarene, in Charleston, WV. In 1990, I returned to teaching when I accepted a position at Mount Vernon Nazarene College. While there, I entered Ashland Theological Seminary, where I began formal preparation for pastoral ministry. During those years I also started work toward the Master of Divinity degree at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. After moving to St. Paul, MN, I completed the MDiv degree in 2001 at Luther Seminary, having earned the John Milton Old Testament Award.
After seminary graduation, I accepted a call to serve as Associate Pastor at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church (Springfield, OH), now an NALC congregation. My ministry there included redesign and leadership of the congregation’s faith formation approach for children, youth, and adults, and redesign of the lay ministry structure. I also instituted and led Grace’s Stephen Ministry and GriefShare programs, as well as women’s ministries and Bible studies. In addition to preaching and leading worship, I provided pastoral care and individualized spiritual direction.
While at Grace, I participated in the Pastor-Theologian Program at Princeton’s Center of Theological Inquiry. Although my participation was only brief, it might be considered a symbol of my whole life of faith—a life of the heart and mind inspired by the Triune God. The abiding love of God is my joy, peace, and hope. My passion is being blessed by the wisdom of God in the community of others. I am devoted to serving as an agent of grace through God’s Word.
I rejoice in God’s message of hope: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).