At St. Philip the Deacon since: December 1999.
Faith background: My faith background can not be unhinged from my family. My faith was shared with my brother Paul, sister Jane, father Wally, and mother Jeannette. I have been a Lutheran since my birth. I grew up in a large urban church in north Minneapolis: Immanuel Lutheran Church and left that church in 1987. I cherish the memories of my childhood church. I have experiences at St. Philip that trigger wonderful and warm memories of my past faith experiences. These experiences make me shiver and smile. I am beginning to realize the strength my faith journey has on my daughters. I love Sunday mornings, as they are opportunities to share my love of God with my wife Jane and our daughters Ellie and Ana Mei. I love that Sunday morning family time starts at church on Sunday and continues at home honoring the Sabbath as much as we can in our world. We rest and celebrate a sense of accomplishment of our past week and anticipate the week to come.
Professional background and experience: I have spent my whole life as an public schools educator and have advanced degrees in curriculum and instruction. I taught Science Education in a junior high school for 13 years. I have been an associate principal of a large suburban high school, an assistant Superintendent in Teaching and Learning and am currently a Superintendent of west metro suburb.
What is something that you love about St. Philip the Deacon? St. Philip the Deacon provides an oasis from the busy-ness of the world. The worship environment slows the world down for me and invites me to examine myself, my relationship with God and others. It gives me the opportunity to look back, celebrate the accomplishments and identify what I can do better in my coming week.
St. Philip the Deacon also provides a cross-generational learning environment. The learning opportunities are Christ-centered, diverse, relevant, inspiring, inviting, creative, and cross-generational. My daughter, without prodding, has prioritized Confirmation classes over school and other peer opportunities! My daughter is learning about God and her relationship with Him and others. Confirmation classes are successful at building the self-esteem and confidence of our youth.
St. Philip is also a great place for celebration. It sets a priority in celebrating the road marks along the journey of faith. It celebrates baptism, first communion, confirmation, healing, and the end of one’s life with prayer and song that arouses one’s spirit. These road marks are celebrated and led by a group of very talented spiritual leaders, and they are committed to creating a spiritual memory that sticks with one’s spirit forever!
Have you ever been surprised by God? I am surprised everyday by God’s work! God’s surprises always come to me when I am prayerful and patient. My wife and I went through years of infertility. Each month for several years was filled with invasive procedures followed by disappointment. We thought that we would not have the opportunity to raise children. We began to explore adoption and had many moments that we defined as God working in our lives. After the introductory meeting about adoption, on our way home, without debate, we chose the country of origin for our daughters: China. We had many blessings along this journey, not to mention the beauty of the Chinese people during the adoption process. The adoption process was easy, fun, and spiritual! The adoptions process was as if this was our smoothly paved journey to having a family. God surprised us with his plan for us. A plan and direction that I would not have imagined!
If you could meet God face-to-face, what would you want to ask? I actually have an infinite number of questions to ask, but I will focus on two:
- How can I thank You for all that You have done for your creation and me?
- How do I prepare myself for your next steps with your creation so you may remain delighted in it?