Southwest alumnus, bishop of the Diocese of Mississippi, dad to Katie and Betsy, spouse to our alumna, Kyle Dice Seage. You came to Southwest from sunny California, fell in love with a classmate from Mississippi, and following your graduation moved to her diocese, where you and Kyle have served since your ordination to the priesthood.
Raised in Thousand Oaks, California, you earned your undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University, then returned to your hometown to serve as director of youth ministry at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church where you managed a team of volunteers to support both the junior and senior high youth groups, coordinated the Habitat for Humanity program and served the chapel program at the church’s day school.
Your first call in the Diocese of Mississippi was as curate at St. John’s, Ocean Springs, then as rector of St. Thomas in Diamondhead where you served for seven years. Under your leadership, attendance and programming grew, a building program was completed and average Sunday attendance doubled. St. Columb’s in Ridgeland, Mississippi, called you to be their rector in 2005. The church’s attendance and programs grew and a large building project was completed. You served St. Columb’s until the diocese elected you bishop coadjutor in May 2014.
You have been a camp director at Camp Bratton-Green every summer since 2006, a position you intend to keep during your episcopacy. You credit your call to ministry, in large part, to the parish of your youth in Thousand Oaks and their decision to hire a priest to work with the young people. “That experience made all the difference in my own life and helped me develop a love for our church and traditions but also to get close enough to God to hear the call.”
At your consecration, your seminary classmate and the preacher, Bishop Greg Rickel remembered meeting you at seminary, a surfer dude from California who introduced him to the word “stoked.” A word common to the surfing culture, to be stoked is a good thing. Seeing good waves will evoke stokedness. On February 6, 2015, concluding your address to diocesan council, you said, “I believe Christ is calling us to get stoked…that’s right, get stoked for doing his work.”
In recognition of your faithful ministry and of your leadership and service in Mississippi where you believe “Christ is calling us to be a dwelling place for God,” your alma mater is stoked to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.
May 12, 2015 Austin, Texas