Joleen and I met in 1992. We were both students at the Church of God Theological Seminary, following God and preparing for God’s call on our lives. We began dating at the end of 1992 and were married in January 1994.
Before we committed to marriage, though, we talked about what it would look like for us to both be in full-time ministry (we grew up with few, if any, clergy couple models). We graduated in 1995 (see photo below), a year and a half into our marriage, but not before co-writing our Master’s thesis on husband and wife co-pastoring, “Covenanted Together in Marriage and Ministry” (by the way, this project focused on Priscilla and Aquila; see our post on Priscilla and Aquila, which tells a little more about our story and includes the chapter on this biblical clergy couple).
We transitioned to the UMC in 1998, seeking a better denominational fit, including one that ordains women. We began co-pastoring (part-time) one, then two, small rural churches while beginning work on the long ordination process.
We hit a wall in 2003, which would add five years to the ordination process. During this delay, we began D.Min. programs at Asbury Theological Seminary in late 2003. In January 2004, we spent our first week on campus. Ironically, we celebrated our tenth anniversary that week (fellow students helped us celebrate with a cake in class that morning). At the time, it somehow seemed appropriate that we return to a seminary campus to celebrate our tenth anniversary!
After four and a half years of hard work, we graduated in 2008 (see photo below).
After we graduated from Asbury, we picked up where we left off six years before with the ordination process. We were commissioned together in 2009, and just over a week ago, we were both ordained (a year earlier than originally expected thanks to a change in the process at the 2008 General Conference).
We don’t know what the future holds, of course, but up to this point, we have lived out (with God’s help!) our covenant to be together in marriage and ministry!