Born into a Lutheran missionary family at the end of British colonial rule in Nigeria, Phil remembers the mantra “something can be different without being wrong” as a way of explaining a different culture to his American cousins. Returning stateside he lived in a small town in Texas during the turbulent sixties where it seemed the mantra at home and in church was “anything different is wrong”. He and his six siblings could never buy into that.
Phil was married and raised three children. His son, two daughters and two sons-in-law and six grandchildren all still live in Texas.
Following his own spiritual calling, he entered the ministry. He served as a commissioned minister of education in urban schools in Milwaukee and Houston before going to the seminary. He was ordained in 1983. As a minister he served in suburban Lincoln, NE, in a small town in east Texas and in the oil field towns of west Texas before leaving Lutheranism.
His transition during two years as a chaplain resident at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas, led him to the United Church of Christ and back into congregation-based ministry at Pioneer Congregational UCC in Sacramento, CA. He has been at Pioneer since August 1, 2010. He now proudly wears the label of progressive Christian and freely admits to still being on a journey of discovery.