I was born and raised in South Jersey, midway between Philadelphia and the Pine Barrens. Although my siblings and I were raised without religion, we were raised with a surplus of wonder and awe.
As an adult, I attended Rutgers-Camden for undergrad, and later for my first graduate degree, where I studied English and linguistics. In between, I spent several months in Azerbaijan studying at the Azerbaijan University of Languages on a Critical Language Scholarship from the US State Department.
Though encouraged to apply for a job in the foreign service, I instead returned to bartending in Philadelphia. It was a career that I held for over ten years. While I have also worked in editing and publishing, I believe my ministry truly began at the bar, listening to people tell me their darkest secrets and most joyous news.
In 2011, I was volunteering for an independent poll observer organization, when I walked into a small neighborhood church that also served as a polling place. I felt an actual chill, and was overcome with a feeling that this was where I needed to be. The experience led to my joining the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, a diverse and historically Universalist church in Philadelphia.
There, I served as a worship associate for three years before answering the call to ministry. I applied to seminary and MFA programs at the same time, thinking the decision would be made for me. Instead, I was accepted to both, which is how I wound up moving to Oregon in 2016 for my MFA, while simultaneously enrolling in the low-residency MDiv program at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. In 2018, I graduated from the University of Oregon with an MFA in poetry. In 2019, I took part in the Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop’s first Spiritual Writing summer program. And in 2020 I earned my MDiv.
As part of my formation, I was required to take one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), a 400-hour internship as a hospital chaplain. I immediately loved the work, and wound up going back for two extra units. I felt so fulfilled by pastoral care that I strongly considered become exclusively a chaplain, hoping to focus on trauma.
However, my time at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene convinced me that my work is in the parish, forming longer-term relationships and shepherding an entire faith community through the seasons of their lives. After my two-year internship, I was blessed to be hired back as the Coordinator of Outreach and Engagement, and to be able to assist as the church rapidly transitioned to online services at the start of the pandemic.
On June 14, 2020, I was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene.
In August 2020, I moved to Austin, TX to begin my work as the settled minister of Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Church. Unfortunately, the church was in the midst of significant conflict, and was not ready to commit to shared ministry with a settled pastor. With great regret, I resigned in December 2020.
In addition, my religious values draw me toward liberation. I believe that we have a sacred obligation to work for the liberation and full inclusion of the marginalized and oppressed, both within our faith communities and in human society as a whole.
Outside of ministry, I enjoy backpacking, gardening, writing, quilting, long-distance train travel, and excellent food and cocktails.