Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord.
It is with the greatest joy that I take this opportunity to introduce myself and share a little bit about my journey to St. Michael’s.
I was born on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where Garrison Keillor is the patron saint and where schoolboys spend the early days of spring praying their baseball games aren’t cancelled by inclement snow.
I come from a long line of Lutheran ministers. My great-great grandfather was called from Oslo to serve a number of Norwegian-speaking parishes in Wisconsin, my great-grandfather was the associate for pastoral care at Central Lutheran in downtown Minneapolis, and my grandfather was a chaplain and captain in the United States Navy (and indeed, while he was stationed at Parris Island for a season, one of my aunts was a high school classmate of your own native son, Pat Conroy!).
Thus, I was baptized into the Lutheran church at an early age by my grandfather. However, very early on in my childhood my parents left the Lutheran fold for a time and I spent most of my adolescence worshipping in a series of non-denominational charismatic churches – churches that opened my eyes to God’s immediate, incarnational presence with His people.
Following high school I completed an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. It was here that I became increasingly aware of the tremendous amount of suffering, alienation, and despair experienced by my generation as they seek for meaning in a world that appears to be incoherent and cutthroat. It was at this time that I began to feel the faint stirrings of a call to ministry.
This ultimately led me to Trinity School for Ministry near Pittsburgh. Interestingly enough, however, upon arriving at Trinity for classes (after a brutal, 24-hour journey on a Greyhound bus), I had never set foot in an Anglican church, nor attended an Anglican service.
Seminary, for me, was nothing if not a refining crucible. It was a time of great formation, great suffering, great joy, and ultimately, great blessing – the greatest of which was meeting my wife, Caity. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig, from the time she came into my life I truly believe I became the ‘Luckiest man on the face of the earth.’
The past two years have been a whirlwind of transitions. I graduated from Trinity in May 2010, we were married two weeks later, and after a honeymoon summer of intensive Hebrew for Caity, we moved down to West Ashley so that I could begin a 1600-hour hospital chaplaincy residency at Roper Saint Francis. This past June I was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Archbishop Robert Duncan with the same red stole my grandfather had worn at his ordination sixty years before. After completing the residency (where I served on ICU, PCU, ER, neuro-spine, cardiac, and ambulatory surgery units), Caity and I moved downtown last Fall and continued to search for ministry employment.
Little could we have imagined when we first began worshipping at St. Michael’s in October, that one coffee hour Merrilee Kinney would introduce us to Fr. Al, who would say, “You know, we may have a position opening up soon. We should talk.” The rest, as they say, is history. And as you can imagine, for a country boy from Minnesota, this has all felt a little surreal, in a miraculous and wonderful sort of way.
To close, I can’t tell you how honored and humbled and delighted I am to have been called to help with the vital and already-vibrant ministries of pastoral care and healing prayer. You have been so good and kind and gracious to us—even before anyone knew we were interviewing—and we are looking forward to getting to know you all better in the days ahead.
P.S. God willing, this April 14th I will be ordained to the priesthood in Pittsburgh by Archbishop Duncan. I would covet your prayers (and presence, if you happen to be up in that neck of the woods)!
~ The Rev. David Booman