Pastor. Artist. Spiritual Director in Training
I grew up in a three-hundred-year-old house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that was once owned by the Penn family. The surrounding woods, rivers, and streams where I spent much of my childhood are the traditional territory of the Lenape people whose land was unjustly taken from them by William Penn’s sons through the notorious Walking Purchase. The beauty of the land and the complexity of its history create a tension that continues to animate my life and work in the Pacific Northwest.
As the grandson of the comic book artist and illustrator Russ Heath (famous for his realism and for being copied by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein), I have always enjoyed art – especially drawing from life. To take a long, loving look at the real, to trace life’s contours, depict its textures, and give deep attention to the way light and shadow coexist is a contemplative practice. My appreciation of the arts led me to study illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and fostered a commitment to creative problem-solving – an intention I bring to many aspects of my life.
While living in Providence, Rhode Island, I began attending a small historic church rooted in the black church tradition where I was captivated by the pathos, artistry, and conviction of the congregation. In my final year at RISD, I studied graphic design at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm, Sweden where I was quickly thrown into a state of disorientation by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. My search for belonging and grounding led me back to church and to the Stockholm public library where I devoured every book on Christianity (written in English) that I could find. My time in Sweden was profoundly formative, and I returned to the US with a longing to become more intentional in pursuing a vibrant spiritual life. After working as a graphic designer and getting married to my wife, Sage, we moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 2005 so that I could earn my Master of Divinity at Regent College – a trans-denominational graduate school of theology.
In 2009, I began pastoring at Tenth Church, a large, justice and arts-oriented, diverse, urban faith community. In January 2013, I became the Lead Pastor of Cedar Park – an Anabaptist church in Delta, BC. I served Cedar Park for nine years helping the congregation engage in meaningful ministry including refugee sponsorship, mental health support, migrant worker outreach, recovery programs, and a children’s art camp run in collaboration with artists from the community. I am currently serving as a co-pastor of Estuary Church in Ladner, BC and working alongside my wife as part of her gardening business, Kindred Gardens.
I have a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Social Transformation and am passionate about helping people discern what is life-giving and death-dealing in their personal lives and in the social systems in which they are entangled.