Recapturing The Gift of Christmas

As a child, visiting my grandparents on Christmas Day was special to me. While my grandfather never had many memories of celebrating Christmas as a boy since he grew up in various foster homes, he found ways to make the season joyful for his grandchildren. From the lights decorated on his small home in the … [Read more…]

Embracing the Unexpected Detours

It was one of the most difficult decisions I had to ever make. After spending a year struggling in the ordination process to become a minister, I came to the conclusion that while I still felt called to be a minister, it wasn’t going to be in the denomination where I had been raised and … [Read more…]

The Beloved Community

Last spring, members of my church spent a day volunteering to help build a house for “Habitat For Humanity” in our town. Given hammers, nails, tape measures, and saws, our church was specifically tasked with installing a kitchen floor in the home we were building. While I like to think I am good at carpentry … [Read more…]

Seeking Justice, Pursuing It

Last week, I found myself working an early morning shift at a local store where I work part-time two days a week. During my shift while the store was still closed, I was at the front counter organizing order forms while talking with two of my co-workers. The one co-worker is a young African-American man … [Read more…]

Finding Affirmation, Despite All Doubts

Standing in front of me, I could see my face in the reflection of his aviator sunglasses. Even though we shared the same height, his muscular physique and intimidating posture were enough for me to shake in my poorly laced boots. “Your boot laces are a mess, Lieutenant!” he shouted in a deep voice with … [Read more…]

The Gift of Forgiveness

Accompanying my dad and grandfather to close our family cottage every October as a teenager was something of a tradition. Taking place usually on a Saturday, the three of us would end the summer in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania by putting up storm windows, draining the hot water tank, and yes, even draining the toilets in … [Read more…]

Cleansing Of The Spiritual Soul

It was about seven years ago that I picked up running as an exercise. One summer in my early 20s while back home in Western Pennsylvania, I can recall running on a dusty dirt trail on an overcast and humid day. With cramps forming on my side and aches in my back, I found myself … [Read more…]

Receiving A Healing Touch

One of the things that my family is not really known for is giving hugs. While I grew up with two loving parents, expressing it through hugging wasn’t necessarily “our thing.” For me, learning how to give and embrace hugs was something I had to learn how to do in ministry. Particularly since hugging is … [Read more…]

Being Loved, Just For Who You Are

As a small child, I can remember watching “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” every morning. For me and millions of other children, Fred Rogers was the best friend we had. But besides the lessons we received on how to tie our shoes or the many imaginative trips we took to the “Land of Make Believe,” there was … [Read more…]

Setting The Table Of Hospitality

It was within the final few moments of our free community dinner program that my congregation runs every Wednesday night in our church basement. This community dinner program, which attracts a wide variety of individuals ranging from college students to those with families, is not only a way for people to build relationships with those … [Read more…]