Professor Merit Anglin
29 October 2014 My Father’s Journey to Becoming a Pastor
Growing up as an only child in a heavily alcoholic family in Queens, New York City, my dad could’ve very easily chosen to go down the same path as his parents and live life very recklessly. Instead, he decided to pursue what he loved most at the time, which was music. He particularly loved playing the piano and started leading services in a nearby church as a teenager, which is also around the age when most kids start experimenting with bad decisions. This is where he first got introduced to the church scene, and quickly found out that the people he met in that environment were much better for him than the ones that his parents hung out with on a day-to-day basis. I think it is for this reason that he is where he is today.
Where he is today is still in the same environment he fell in love with as a teenager, and he not only plays the piano, but is now also the pastor of a pretty rapidly growing church in Virginia. It was only a couple years ago that he actually got ordained, but he has been carrying out pastoral responsibilities for the church community for most of his life. The responsibilities he has on a weekly basis have much more to do with what goes on outside of the church doors than what most people would expect. Aside from the pretty much stereotypical pastor he is on every given Sunday, he also makes an effort to visit anyone in the congregation who is in the hospital at any time. There are quite a few elderly people in our church and aren’t able to make it every Sunday. My dad takes time out of his week to go to each one of their houses and give them communion if they missed it in church. It should be noted that he never once got paid to do these actions before he was ordained. He just did them because of his love for the church. In short, my dad cares for his congregation, and wouldn’t think twice about having to go out of his way to provide support for anyone.
When looking at what my dad does now, and the immense amount of joy he gets out of it, it’s almost hard to believe the harsh struggles he went through as a kid. He told me, however, that everything he has experienced up until this point in his life has contributed to the person he is today.
As mentioned before, his parents were both raging alcoholics, and his father, who was retired military and an NYPD officer, died of a sudden heart attack when he was only in his mid-40s. My dad was at the young age of 18. He told me that losing his father was one of the hardest things he has had to face in his life, not only because of how he took it himself, but because of how hard his mother took it as well. She became even more of an abusive drinker after the loss of her spouse, and my father actually ended up living with his aunt for a short period of time.
Seeing as how some people tend to place blame on their God for bad things happening to them, I asked him if it was difficult to go to church after so many bad things were happening to him all at the same time. His answer surprised me greatly, saying it was the exact opposite reaction for him. He told me that being involved with the church was the main thing that was keeping him away from the same things that his dad ultimately died from. He found more of a family atmosphere in the church community than he did with his blood relatives at this point in time. So in his mind, there was no other choice but to keep pursuing that sanctuary. That answer alone surprised me so much because keep in mind he was still a teenager, and if I was put in that same situation, I seriously doubt I would’ve made the same decisions he did. Looking back on it, my father says it is hard to imagine how life would be like if he hadn’t been involved with the church. Just after graduating high school, his involvement in the church community only grew heavier as he enrolled in classes at Concordia University, which is a Christian…