Hi! Thanks for visiting my website. I hope you find it inspiring and encouraging. Please drop me a line and introduce yourself too. I’d love to know more about you.
I’m a rostered leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I served five and half years as the pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, in New Kingstown, PA for my first call. I’m currently not in a call.
I have a few passions when it comes to ministry. One of them is homelessness. During my time as pastor, we launched a truck stop ministry in which we did laundry with people, made sure they could get a shower, and ate with people who were living in their cars, motels, or in other arrangements. We provided sleeping bags, blankets, hats and gloves, and other supplies for people that are essential for survival, as well as tried to link people to health services. We even did a worship service with people who wanted to worship together, including the sharing of the Lord’s Supper.
You can read more about this ministry in The Burg and in Living Lutheran.
Homelessness continued to grow as a challenge and so we launched a non-profit called Emmaus Village – it will be a village of tiny homes dedicated to getting people into shelter.
In addition, there is another organization forming called Arkaios – which means new beginnings. Our goal is to provide the funds necessary for a security deposit and first month’s rent, which building relationships with people in order to get them into stable housing and stay there. Many of the people we are looking to help with this currently live in motels in our area and pay anywhere from $400-800 a week for a motel room.
In July, 2020, I joined Pat LeMarche, a homelessness advocate, and several other dedicated people for what we called Sleep Out in the Park.
We set up shop in a pavilion in one of the Carlisle Borough Parks and live streamed interviews with about 17 people and organizations and stayed the night in the pavilion in an effort to raise awareness about homelessness and the challenges people face. This has led to the launch of the Still Left Out in America podcast that I co-host with Pat. You can find us on Facebook and YouTube and you can read and watch the news coverage here.
This grew in 2021 to the Homeless Blanket Project where people made over 200 blankets and they were laid out on the front steps of First Lutheran church in Carlisle, PA overnight to raise awareness around homelessness. In 2022, this is growing again as we are taking this to Washington, DC – to the West Lawn of the US Capitol – where over 500 blankets will be displayed, we will do a podcast, and so much more. You can learn more at www.memorialblanket.org.
During my time as pastor at St. Stephen, we have received $56,000 in grant funding for social ministry and mission launch ministries from various sources like the Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA World Hunger, and Community Aid.
I also have leadership responsibilities in the larger church. I serve as the Policy Council Chair of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania. LAMPA advocates for wise and just public policies in Pennsylvania that promote the common good.
In addition, I have served as an elected member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council, the governing body of the Synod. I served on the Executive Committee, chair the Mission Committee, and serve as chair of the Homelessness Task Force. In 2019 I also served on the Synod Renewal Team and the Assembly Planning Committee.
In 2020, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to begin teaching with the Stevenson School for Ministry. I taught a course on faith and politics, as well as a course on living evangelism. In October 2020 I had the privilege of co-leading an online seminar on evangelism with the school. You can see the video of the seminar here – https://youtu.be/Y09axDWQih0
In 2020, I was also invited to service on the advisory council for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics – a great publication exploring ethics.
In 2021, I was invited to serve on the advisory council of the Community Partners for Change of Cumberland County. It’s a public-private community partnership that is working to end homelessness in our county.
In addition, I am a contributor to the Towards Racial Justice blog of Lower Susquehanna Synod. You can check out my posts here and here.
My educational background prepared me well for the work of ministry. I graduated with honors in Political Science from Grove City College, in Grove City, PA in 1998. In 2017 I graduated with my M.Div. from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Now United Lutheran Seminary). During my seminary time, I also had the opportunity to study at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Our family spent a year in Finland, immersed in Finnish culture and exploring the many aspects of faith in Finland – it was one of the best experiences of our lives. You can an article I wrote for a Finnish Lutheran Church publication at the conclusion of our time in Finland.
My work history also prepared me well for this vocation. After college, I went to Washington, DC and worked as a Legislative Correspondant for US Representative Phil English, then as a Legislative Analyst for a Capitol Hill Lobbying firm – The Redding Firm. Upon moving to Carlisle, PA, I started my own government affairs firm, The Atlantic Firm. I then became a Legislative Assistant for PA Representative Will Gabig.
I then shifted careers, starting Best Solutions – an entrepreneurial coaching firm that worked with clients on strategy and messaging. During this time, I also managed and did strategy for political campaigns for a variety of candidates and had a 75% success rate.
In 2009 I began discerning a call to ministry. As part of this process, I gained valuable experience in the non-profit sector, working for Project SHARE – a food pantry in Carlisle, PA. I began there as the Volunteer Coordinator and within six months became the Operations Manager, overseeing all of the staff and projects until 2012 when I began seminary.
During seminary, my internship took me to Evangelical Lutheran Church in Duncansville, PA where I learned valuable lessons in pastoring. And I was fortunate to be a Senior Seminarian Vicar who served the people of Center Lutheran Church outside of Newville, PA.
In my personal time, I enjoy running (I’ve run 11 marathons, 18 half marathons, and a slew of other shorter distances), traveling (I have traveled across North America, in Central America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa), reading (mostly non-fiction politics, philosophy, theology, and churchy stuff), and writing.
I am married to my college sweetheart, Abigail. And we are blessed to have four wonderful children and a dog, Jimmy.