Although I hate to admit it, God was not really a part of my life until rather late. While growing up in Tampa, Florida, I attended church rather infrequently with my parents. My father was in the US Air Force, and while we did not move around very much, most of my friends did. I remember enjoying vacation Bible school for the Bible stories and the crafts. Every so often I still have the urge to make Noah’s ark out of Popsicle sticks.
In addition to Tampa, I lived six years in Japan as a teenager and three in Europe while serving as a counterintelligence officer in the Army. Each time I visited a Buddhist temple or Christian cathedral, I felt a sense of peace and reverence, but I didn’t really ascribe that feeling to anything. Now I know better.
In 1981 I met my life partner Cliff Chally who invited me to attend church with him at St. James’, Los Angeles. Since church-going was very much a part of his life, I starting attending church rather frequently, even though I was still attending the University of San Diego earning my Masters of Business degree. After a while I began listening to what the priest had to say. I started thinking that I was developing my academic mind at school, but I was doing absolutely nothing to develop my spiritual side. Amazingly, once I started to listen, I found out the things the priest said actually made sense! Before I started attending church I thought that churches were only after their parishioners’ money, but after I found out that ministering to people does take money. Before I thought most people came to church only to be seen by their peers, but after I met people whose primary objective was to serve others. Before I thought the sacraments were a lot of hocus-pocus, but after I came to see them as little windows into God’s mysterious grace.
I am extremely happy to be joining the amazing staff of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. The position of diocesan treasurer (pending approval) and chief financial officer allows me to tap into both sides of who I am, namely as a business/finance person and a priest. In the coming weeks and months, I want to get to know all of you to learn about what God is calling you to be in this wonderful diocese. Together we’re starting on a new journey, and I can’t imagine a better group of people to be with. May God bless us as we move forward in working to realize God’s reign here on earth.
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