I was born in Goshen, Indiana, but within six months my family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I have my earliest memories. My parents were pastors of Pittsburgh Mennonite Church, and I remember crawling under the pews, interrupting worship service, and various other good times with that congregation.
When I was six, we moved as a family to Manila, the Philippines, where my parents began working as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) country representatives. Later on in our three years there, they also worked with Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM). My siblings and I attended Faith Academy, a school for missionary kids — I strongly identify, and wrestle with, my identity as both a missionary kid and a pastor’s kid.
When I was nine, we returned to the US, moving to my Dad’s hometown of Harrisonburg, Virginia, where I’ve spent the majority of my years since then. I received a really excellent Christian, and specifically Anabaptist-Mennonite, education through school at Eastern Mennonite School and Park View Mennonite Church. God has richly blessed the community in Harrisonburg, and I’m proud to call it home.
After high school, I wanted to get some space from the family and out of the valley for the first time in about a decade; I settled on Hesston College for a few reasons, the main three being 1. the chance to play collegiate tennis, 2. to be in a very active choir, Bel Canto, and 3. to continue investing in Mennonite-Christian community and education. Hesston’s bible and theology faculty were wonderful — Michelle Hershberger and John Sharp became important mentors to me during my two years there, and to this day I rely on the Biblical Literature class, colloquially known as Heilsgeschichte, whenever I open a bible. Hesston is a two-year school, so after getting my Associates there I returned to Harrisonburg to finish my undergrad at EMU, majoring in English and minoring in Music and History.
After undergrad I felt called to do some form of Christian service and wanted to move abroad; MCC’s Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program was a great fit for me, and I ended up spending two years with MCC in Hanoi, Vietnam. This was a rich and challenging two years, where I deepened my passion for international collaboration, Christian service, reconciliation, history, and so much more. During this time I authored 65 Years of Walking Together: The MCC Vietnam story. It was also in this time, when attending a small church that didn’t have any paid staff of any kind, that I started preaching and began wondering if pastoring might be a calling for me.
Chasing that call I returned to the US, and Harrisonburg, in 2020, during the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, and began studying at Eastern Mennonite Seminary while paying the bills through painting barn roofs with my Dad. I loved seminary, and in particular focused on church history and racial justice; I graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion in 2022. During my time in seminary I began working part-time for Virginia Mennonite Conference, where I still work alongside my work at Daniel’s Run, as the Church Relations and Racial Justice Minister and as a member of the interim Conference Leadership Team.
Another thing that drew me back to Harrisonburg in 2020 was my then girlfriend and now wife, Stephanie. Steph’s kind and strong soul have made her a great companion for the past four and a half years, and we’re looking forward to a life together. We were married on April 29, 2023, and are enjoying settling into married life in Harrisonburg. We’ve both enjoyed getting to know Daniel’s Run as a church and community and are excited to see how God grows the partnership between the church and our family into the future.
Feel free to reach out to me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.