I was born and raised in Santa Maria, California. I went to college at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, graduating with a BA in Religion in 1986. I spent a year working with homeless youth at Covenant House in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, before being a youth director with two Lutheran churches in Iron Mountain, MI. I attended seminary at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA, graduating with an MDiv and an MA in Biblical Studies in 1996. I have a PhD in New Testament from Emory University in 2012. My dissertation studied the use of the Book of Revelation in the early church.
I was ordained in July 2001. I have served as pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Carrolton, GA, and as co-pastor with my wife Mary at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Bloomington, IL, before being called to Epiphany in August 2014.
Mary and I were married on July 10, 1993. She now serves as pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Griffin, GA. We have two sons. Christopher was born in 2000 and is on the autism spectrum. Samuel was born in 2002. They both attend Union Grove High School in McDonough. Samuel became an Eagle Scout in August 2020.
I have a passion for social justice, community involvement, and developing a Scriptural imagination. If I can find a way to work in a reference to Revelation, I will do so – just ask any of the people in our Bible studies! I presently serve on the board for Family Promise of NewRock. I am actively involved in the Community Resource Network and Chamber of Commerce. And I help plan the Community Thanksgiving Service for Rockdale County. I love to read, paint, write, watch movies, and spend time with my family. Oh, yes, I also love Yoda and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I am a mother of two, my daughter, Natima and son Dauda. I am originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa where I grew up in the United Brethren in Christ (UBC) Church. I moved to the United States in 1995. In 1997, I moved from New York to Georgia. In pursuit to rekindle my spiritual thirst, which was abandoned for over 5 years, I joined the St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church, Decatur where I became an active member both in the congregation and the ELCA. Whilst serving at St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church, I discovered my gift of ministry which lead me to the TEEM program.
At the end of the TEEM program, I was asked as a requirement to do a one-year internship here at the Epiphany Lutheran Church, Conyers. Upon completion, the Holy Spirit has guided me back to this congregation, where I have answered the call to be the Associate Pastor for Multicultural Ministry. I thank God for these blessings and look forward to this new journey knowing that Jesus remains the center of it all!
Office Manager Valarie Vinson