After being born in Buffalo, I spent most of my childhood in Spencerport, a suburb to the west of Rochester, NY where my family attended Ogden Presbyterian Church. As the only child of two loving and faith-filled parents church involvement was not so much a requirement in my family as much as simply what we did. I was confirmed in 8th grade, but like so many “church kids” my faith had to go through a transition period in middle school and high school such that it became my own. Along the way, various church, Presbytery, and Synod activities and the relationships formed through them played an instrumental role in my embrace of a life of discipleship in Jesus Christ.
In the fall of 1999 I made my way to Western Pennsylvania to attend Grove City College, where I majored in Applied Physics and Computer Software. During my college years I completed two internships in database management at Xerox Corporation and a summer of research in fluid dynamics at Bucknell University. But in the midst of my college years, God began to redirect my attention.
It all started while waiting for a bus one night at the General Assembly in 2000 where I served as a YAD. At that bus stop, one of the commissioners from our Presbytery asked me if I had ever considered ordained ministry as a vocation. I laughed, told him “absolutely not” and “now I know you’re really crazy,” and that was the end of it (or so I thought). However, a series of events during my final three years of college (including my now wife saying “If you become a pastor I want you to marry me”) continued to lead me in the direction of ministry as a vocation. In April of my senior year I finally, after trying to open every other door imaginable, made the decision to attend seminary.
The summer before I started seminary I was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose, CO where I had the joy of serving as a Youth Ministry Intern during the summer of 2003. Highlights from this summer included prairie dog hunting, driving a big red suburban the kids called “Clifford”, and learning the true definition of “dry heat” when the temperature made it to the high 90’s each day. I began my studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in the fall of 2003. While there, I stumbled upon the Northmont Presbyterian Church. I began attending and volunteering there during my first year of seminary and later had the privilege of completing my field education there during my final two years of seminary.
After graduation, I was called to Hampton Presbyterian Church where I began my service in July of 2006. Serving at Hampton has been an adventure (especially working with Ted Martin) and the highlights are far too numerous to recount. But in the end I had the chance to be involved in the lives of some incredible students and their families and that has been a tremendous privilege. I’ve watched more than 100 students graduate from high school, seen four classes make the entire journey from middle school through the end of high school, led 20 mission trips, started a day camp program that has grown from 25 to 100 campers, led 9 confirmation classes, and met with my seniors year after year at 6am for breakfast once a month. As I make this transition into a new call I do so with incredible gratitude for the privileges and opportunities the last ten years have provided me. I will always remember with joy the years that my family and I spent as part of the “HPC Family”.
Speaking of my family, my wife Renee and I met in college (although we never dated while we were there) and got married (twice actually – that’s a story you can ask me about) in 2006 right before I started my time at Hampton. Since then we’ve added two children to our family – Andrew (2nd grade) and Meredith (1st grade). Renee served alongside me at Hampton as our Children’s Ministry Director for six and a half years and recently joined the staff at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church.
Despite spending half my life in Western Pennsylvania my Western New York roots show through in my favorite sports teams. I am a passionate Buffalo Sabres fan and pull for the Buffalo Bills and Syracuse Orange. My hobbies include running (I’ve completed five half marathons), photography and videography, and spending time with my family.