Who do people say that I am? You can never be quite sure what others will say about you, but I can give you a sense of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and those who have accompanied me along the way. In 1964 I was born in Hastings, but not that Hastings, instead Hastings, Nebraska. I am the fifth child and second son of John and Lavonne Gingrich, and I have a younger sister …along with a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and other relations because my mother is one of eight children.
I grew up on a farm in Nebraska near the village of Ayr (pop. around 45), but went to school and church in Blue Hill (pop. around 800). In Blue Hill there were two Lutheran churches, each having a membership of over 400 people, plus Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches which were full most Sundays, so plenty of people lived on farms and filled the pews. I was a Lutheran through and through. I went to a Lutheran university where I read accounting and computer science. I worked as an accountant both in the public and private sectors. Having done my best to deny a calling to ministry, I braved the selection process, and in 1989 went to Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary and later to Yale Divinity School. I hadn’t even met an Anglican until I was at Yale …and I married the first one I encountered.
From Yale I was ordained in 1993 and I served parishes in Chatham and Ghent (upstate flew York), and Bridgeport (Comecticut)in 1998. It was when Anne Marie was enticed to move from Yale to the Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge in 2000 that I arrived on the shores of this green and pleasant land, still a Lutheran minister. I served Lutheran churches from London to Loughborough, visiting communities of Lutherans there and in Leicester, Nottingham, Corby and Cambridge for Sunday services whilst also serving as chaplain to the International Lutheran Student Centre and as interim pastor for the London Chinese Lutheran Church. I think that period is best described as itinerant ministry, and eventually I put myself forward to be considered for ministry in the Church of England.
I was ordained to the Diaconate in 2003 at Ely Cathedral and priested in 2004, whilst serving my title in the Shingay Group of Parishes, the charming villages of Guilden Morden, Steeple Morden, Litlington, Abington Piggots, Shingay cum Wendy and Tadlow. In 2008 I arrived in Gaywood in Norwich Diocese to be Team Vicar in St Faith’s Local Ecumenical Partnership, a shared building and ministry with Methodists. I soon was enlisted to be Norwich Diocesan Ecumenical Officer and then Moderator for Churches Together in King’s Lynn. Now I’m drawn to Bloxham, Milcombe and South Newington, coming closer to my rural roots and looking forward to mission and ministry in Oxfordshire and getting to know the people and places in the benefice. You know my story, now I’ll be interested in hearing yours.