2016 Ben headshot colorMy faculty bio page on George Fox University’s website will give a more formal introduction to my teaching and research interests, so I will be less formal here.

After eleven years at  Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, I began working at George Fox University in 2016. I moved, however, to Oregon in 2013 so that my wife, Laura, could take a position as Dean of Arts and Sciences at George Fox University. Between 2013 and 2016 I chose to commute about once a month back to Philadelphia. Those three difficult years of trying to live in two places has finally drawn to a close.

In the summer of 2016 I also said goodbye to colleagues in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and transferred my Conference (a United Methodist term to denote a regional ministry area) relationship to the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.  In addition to being appointed to George Fox University I also serve as a deacon at Mountain Home United Methodist Church a few miles north of Newberg on Chehalem mountain.

During the summer of 2016, my son, Luke, and I also drove my 1993 Toyota Corolla across the country so that he could have a car to take with him to college in Seattle.  We enjoyed the adventure of finding free campsites in some creative places all across the country during our trek, and I (mostly) grew in my appreciation of my son during the long drive.  We even had some moments of connection about music theory which he is passionate about but about which I am woefully ignorant.

To state the obvious, living in Oregon is surely a lot different from Philadelphia. I will surely miss, for example, taking students on walking tours of Philadelphia Christianity.  During my last few years in Philadelphia students even helped me (along with St. George’s United Methodist Church and others) to develop a walking tour of Philadelphia Methodism.  I wasn’t able to write a book about Christianity in Philadelphia as I was able to do for Boston (where I lived for 8 years), but the walking tour was still a lot of fun to create!   In Oregon I am enjoying becoming a cyclist who wanders around the rolling hills of the Willamette valley with far less traffic to get in the way than on Philadelphia’s streets.  I’ve returned to my high school and college activity of running as well and have been injury free for several years now.  I’ve even embraced the availability of firewood here in Oregon – and my love of easily-split Douglas Fir  – which has enabled us to keep the gas furnace in our house shut off almost entirely during the winter months.

Next year Laura and I will only have our daughter, Tess, living with us as Luke transitions to college at Pacific Lutheran University.  We are looking forward to watching upcoming theatrical performances by Tess at Newberg High School next year.  While Tess will technically be the only family member living with us in the coming year we are looking forward to having two additional housemates join us in our home as we reinvigorate the housemate tradition we had in Philadelphia for eight years. I look forward to learning a great deal from them.

My wife, Laura, and I will also be co-teaching our first course together this Fall!  It is essentially an introduction to the liberal arts for incoming college freshmen.  Laura and I have never taught a course together, so this will be quite the learning experience for us as well.



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