I am a cradle United Methodist from Biloxi, Mississippi where my family and I were members of St. Paul United Methodist Church until we relocated to Las Vegas when I was ten. My father served as the Lay Leader and my mother as the children’s choir director at St. Paul during our time there. Upon relocating to Las Vegas, we joined Zion United Methodist Church. I graduated from Valley High School in 1994 and I went on to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Humboldt State University. Just after returning home from my undergraduate studies in 1999, I was blessed to meet my wife Sofia Simon. We then relocated to Southern California and I went on to earn a Master of Science in Counseling from Long Beach State University and a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. From 2003-2012 I was a School Counselor in the Clark County School District of Las Vegas. After relocating to Denver, I worked as a School Counselor in Aurora, Colorado for three years before I retired so I could to fully focus on the reason God had sent us to Denver, Co, my call to ministry.
Looking back, I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without the church. Many seeds for ministry were planted in me as a young child, singing in the children’s and youth choirs of St. Paul and Zion UMC. Some of my fondest church memories revolve around singing in the choir at church and community events . Throughout my youth I was an active member of the Zion Youth Fellowship and this helped to keep my grounded and focused during my teenage years. I ventured away from the church during college but upon returning to Las Vegas after completing my first graduate degree, I was craving to once again sing and worship. Thus, I recommitted my time and gifts to the Zion UMC. Not only was I active in all of Zion’s music ministry but I served in many different leadership capacities until I answered my call to ministry in 2012.
Obediently stepping out on faith to follow my call to ministry has been the most transformative experience of my life. In my four years of study at the Iliff School of Theology I discovered, refined, and embraced spiritual gifts that have ignited a passion to minister as an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. In June of 2016 I graduated with my Master of Divinity at the Iliff School of Theology. I received my first appointment as the Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church Phoenix. I was Commissioned as a Provisional Elder in June 2017. And God willing I will be Ordained Elder in Full Connection in 2019. My first few years of ministry have been filled with many “firsts,” some awesome experiences, learning, tests and testimonies that keep reminding me that God is not through with me yet. Since moving to Phoenix, I have had plenty of opportunities to become actively engaged in the local community through my work with One Community Arizona, the Arizona Faith Network and through the Valley Interfaith Public Policy Institute. I am looking forward to embarking on the next leg of my ministerial journey as the pastor at Crossroads UMC. I am hoping to continue the work that has already been started at Crossroads to help stand out as a vital, vibrant and inclusive community in North Central Phoenix corridor. I pray it will become a place where all of God children regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or ability, can find sanctuary and a space to grow their faith.
Sofia and I have a host of nieces and nephews, God-children and three very cute fur-babies; Mama Tina, Churro Bella and Noah who keep us on our toes. During our free time we enjoy going to the theater, professional sporting events, and concerts. In addition, we strive to stay fit by running and taking cross fit classes together. We ran our first half marathon together in February of 2018. When we have time to get away you’ll find us camping and/or traveling to be with our families in Southern Nevada and California. We are hoping to add a few kiddos to our household through adoption in the next year or so.