I am very excited to be able to introduce myself to you today, and am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you as we share our stories, lives, and ministries together in Christ.
I grew up in East Texas in the Southern Baptist tradition, and found my way to the Episcopal Church through music. My college choir director needed male voices at a small Episcopal Church in Tyler, TX, and asked me if I would be able to commit to Wednesday night rehearsals and Sunday morning services. I signed up, and was amazed at the experience I had while worshipping in that space. It was my first encounter with a liturgical tradition, and a memory I hold dear. Years later, I officially joined the church by way of confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Philip, and as a member of Church of the Epiphany. It was at Epiphany where I started seminary at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. From there, I served as chaplain at Central Outreach and Advocacy Center where I worked with homeless men and women as they allowed me into their space, and shared with me their stories and struggles. After this nine month ministry, I served as a hospital chaplain at Emory’s Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Hospital. I was able to be chaplain to my elders, and walk alongside them through dementia, mental impairments, and the pains of disease and family hardship. After Emory, I was honored to attend Sewanee: The University of the South’s School of Theology to hone my pastoral skills in liturgy, pastoral care, and community life.
While the above two hospital ministries are what theologians like to call “extreme ministries,” I like to think of them as ministries that will transfer nicely into parish life. People are people, no matter where along the scale of human development, privilege, or pilgrimage we find ourselves. The labeling of “extreme” seems to me to be a bit subjective in the life of a minister.
Outside of ministry, I find comfort in my family. I have been married for over ten years to my beautiful wife, Ann. We have a wonderful five-year-old boy named Henry. These two are my mentors, gurus, and teachers. They surprise me with their love and insight daily. I can’t wait for you to get to know them.
God’s grace and peace be with you,
~Fr. Brandon Duke
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