Phil grew up in the United Church, Chapel-on-the-Hill, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Chapel is small, progressive, non-denominational church housed in one of the original Army chapels from Oak Ridge’s days as a government town. At an early age he learned the role of his hometown in the Manhattan Project during World War II. Never one to leave a question alone, he took his interest in “just who was on the other side of that story” to Earlham College, where he majored in Japanese Studies.
Phil did his theological training at Chicago Theological Seminary, including chaplaincy training with The Night Ministry. Before coming to First Congregational Church, he served churches in Westchester, Illinois and Dallas, Texas.
Being the primary preacher at the church, he seeks to stay close to the text of the Bible while helping people connect their stories to the stories of God’s gracious and unconditional love. In addition to overseeing worship and pastoral care, Phil teaches Bible study and Confirmation. He currently also serves as a volunteer chaplain with the Charlotte Fire Department and Rural Fire Association.