Raised in Central New York just outside Syracuse in the mostly-farm village of Baldwinsville, I grew up with four seasons, six siblings and a steady parade of priests and nuns from whom I learned to follow Roman Catholicism devotedly. It didn't take long for me to reach for the brass ring: I declared my intention to become a Catholic priest not long after my eighth birthday.
However, by the end of high school I decided I would one day want to have a family and, after years of musical training, thought I might be a professional trumpet player. I gave up on the calling to a religious vocation. I didn’t know then that the calling would not give up on me.
It's a classic tale: In my early twenties I questioned Catholicism and in my early thirties crossed the river into Unitarian Universalism when my children were religious-education age. Turns out that underneath that river my early calling had remained an undercurrent, patiently waiting, and in 2012 I entered Andover Newton Theological School, transferring to Starr King School for the Ministry in 2018 when Andover Newton relocated to Yale Divinity School. I worked fulltime throughout seminary and graduated from Starr King in May 2020, entering ordained Unitarian Universalist ministry a year later. Along the way, I led worship for dozens of services as part of my ministerial preparation and I met hundreds of Unitarian Universalists.
I have been UU now for most of my adult life, and although I see our movement struggle with its own imperfections, including white supremacy, I believe our theology is worth the work. I believe a religious practice should nurture the spirit to be able to give and receive love and respect with passion and generosity, with a preferential option for the oppressed, and our faith movement captures all of this in ways that always feel true and meaningful to me.
I want more people to experience that hopefulness. I grew up in church; I believe in church. My job now is to help people understand that church can believe in them, too.
First sermon, age 5, brother Tom on the organ. Pulpit and organ by Flintstones Building Boulders.