I’ve been a Lutheran pastor since 1989. While serving at North Park Lutheran Church in Buffalo, NY, I was also elected as Dean of the Niagara Frontier Conference of the Upstate New York Synod (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). As part of that position, I became involved in interfaith activities on behalf of the synod. During that time, I met the Rev. Sarah Buxton-Smith, an Episcopal priest who was organizing an interfaith women’s group as part of the 100th anniversary of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 2001. I became her co-chair and helped facilitate the interfaith presence at the Women’s Leadership Conference, which included keynote speakers Jane Goodall and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As my interest in other religions grew, so did my awareness that parts of my own Christian tradition were no longer fitting neatly into my previous belief system. I began a quest for a new way of understanding my faith in light of the beliefs of others.
In September 2002, I began studies at the Pacific School of Religion, part of the Graduation Theological Union, in Berkeley, CA. I received my Doctor of Ministry degree in 2005; my thesis was entitled “Passing Over and Coming Back: What Does It Mean to Be a Christian in an Interfaith World?” My book is an outgrowth of that work.
I’ve been pastor of First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco since 2004.