Just A Simple Parish Priest

I was born in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1945. I lived there until my mom remarried and then we moved to Toronto where we lived for 11 years. I graduated from Glendon College at York University in 1967 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.

From there I returned to the Boston area and graduated from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge in 1972 with a major in Scripture.

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Upon graduation I served part-time in a small congregation in Malden and also as a part-time assistant at Christ Church, Quincy. My first full time congregation was in Hyde Park in Boston at Christ Church. I served there during the integration crisis from 1975-1983. From there I moved with my family to Ohio where I served The Church of the Epiphany, Euclid from 1983 until 1990. Again I faced issues involving desegregation and the public schools.

I spent about nine months in South Carolina at Pawley’s Island working with a predominantly African American congregation. Unfortunately the mix between me and the leadership, especially the Bishop did not go at all well there. We parted company.

I then returned to Massachusetts where I served St. Andrew’s in Methuen from 1991 until 1995.

From 1995 until 2006 I was the rector of St. Mark’s Saint Albans, in West Virginia. While there, I led the way in building a homeless shelter, and again dealt with racial tensions after a cross burning incident in Saint Albans. I continued to build a Soup Kitchen and a Food Pantry and received statewide recognition for some of my achievements while serving there. Joe Manchin, the Governor of West Virginia awarded me the “Mountaineer of the Year”award in 2006 upon my retirement from St. Mark’s.

Upon retirement, I served on a part time basis at St Peter’s Church, Salem for five years.

I continued to provide pastoral leadership at St. Gabriel’s Church, Douglassville, PA as an interim Priest-in-Charge,then at St Paul’s Church, North Andover as a “Bridge Priest”until Sarah Kelb was called as Priest-in-Charge last fall. Now, I am serving as the Interim priest at St John’s Church in Sandwich, MA on Old Cape Cod

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bookI am the author of “Everything You Need to Know about Sex in Order to Get to Heaven”a satirical treatment of the controversy over human sexuality in the Episcopal Church. In it I suggest that it is time for the Church to “grow up”and face facts: gay folks are in our families, our work places and yes even in our churches. It is time we embrace them in a kinder gentler way.

I also wrote a pamphlet called “User Friendly Evangelism”. This useful guide to church growth and development techniques was quite popular in the Episcopal Church in the 1990’s and sold over 8000 copies.

I am a trained Spiritual Director, and am a member of Spiritual Directors International. I received my training at the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality.


IMG_0655The BoysI am married to Cynthia Bresnahan. Cindy works for Hospice of the North Shore.

We are parents of three fine young men. David, is a graduate of the London School of Economics and is now pursuing a Masters degree at Brandeis. Joshua works for US Airways at Logan Airport, and is registered to attend UMass, Boston in the Fall. Michael has just graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Cindy and I love living in Salem and have happily made it our new home.