I was born in Ayer, MA to parents from Montana and Washington state who
came east while my dad was in the army. Our family didn’t attend
church growing up, except briefly for part of one year. I began to get
to know Jesus when I was 21 years old. I graduated from Wilmington
College in Ohio.
I’ve been a pastor for a little more than ten years. For much of
my previous adult life I worked with church- and community-based
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Jubilee USA Network
(churches and others working for debt cancellation for impoverished
countries); Save Africa’s Children, a church initiative
addressing HIV/AIDS primarily in Africa; and Rural Vermont, a dairy
farmers organization working to boost milk prices and strengthen family
farms. Earlier in life I worked with the Washington office of Church
World Service (jointly with Lutheran World Relief), the Interreligious
Task Force on Food Policy, the Vermont Children’s Forum, and
I moved to Vermont in 1982 and became a United Methodist in 1990 when I
joined the Adamant Methodist Church. I began to feel a call to ordained
ministry in 1995; after a period of prayer and counseling with my
pastor and the district committee on ministries and others, I began
studying at Boston University School of Theology in winter of 1996,
receiving my MDiv degree in 1999. I was ordained a probationary elder
in Troy Annual Conference in June, 1999. My wife Reah Santos
Digan Atwater and I were married June 24, 2000. Our daughter Rohi was
born October 26, 2002. I served as interim pastor at St. John’s
UMC in Watertown (MA) in the Spring of 2002, then began serving the
Adamant and Plainfield (VT) United Methodist churches in July of 2002.
I was ordained an Elder in 2005.
My understanding of my call to ministry emphasizes teaching,
encouraging, nurturing, equipping and empowering the people of God to
love and serve God and neighbor better and be the body of Christ
together (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12), making disciples for Christ and
teaching them to do all that Jesus taught us (Matthew 28). The
church, the body of Christ, is Christ’s main means of evangelism
– a word that means literally spreading the good news of Jesus
Christ. Spiritual formation for ministry is the work of all believers,
led by the Holy Spirit. Healthy churches are growing spiritually
through prayer, bible study, worship, fellowship, and loving service of
God and neighbors.
I start the day with prayer and bible study and two cups of good
(black) coffee. I love my work. I also love to spend time with my
family, read, walk, listen to music (mostly classical, jazz and gospel)
fish (during seminary I fished tidal creeks near here; I used to ice
fish through the winter but now stick to fly-rodding in all other
seasons...) and be outdoors in God’s good creation...
I’m looking forward to being in ministry with you. Let’s
keep each other in prayer.