Don joined the staff at Southminster in May 2006. For him, the focus on inclusivity, social justice, equity for all, and interfaith dialogue is what brought him here. Over the years, Don has stepped into many roles at the church; he often jokes that he has had more “titles” at Southminster than pairs of shoes.
Currently, he is serving as the Interim Pastor since December 2019 and is leading the church through some unprecedented times. Under Don’s leadership and guidance, Southminster has learned to become virtual while maintaining its vitality, completed a mission study, elected a Pastor Nominating committee, undergone some needed organizational alignment, and gathered support and grants to bolster our growing technology and social media ministry. Don has spiritually guided the congregation in our response to a culture of political divisiveness and racial unrest by guiding Southminster in becoming a Matthew 25 congregation (note to Amanda: Matthew 25 in italics and linked to PCUSA Matthew 25 information). Don also serves on the Committee on Representation for the Presbytery of the Cascades which seeks to mobilize equitable and inclusive practices in churches statewide.
Don is a true “bi-professional”. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary and Rutgers University where we obtained both the MDiv and MSW degree in four years. For Don, ministry and social work are one and the same. In his words, “We are called to ministries of equity and justice that create a Beloved Community wherever we find ourselves”. He has worked many years as a Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP) in the Philadelphia and Portland metro areas, mostly serving at-risk youth and families in various capacities. He attended Portland State University and earned his Ph.D. in Social Research in 2009. Currently, Don is a tenured Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice at Clark College in Vancouver, WA, where he also serves as both the Sociology Department Chair and Behavioral Sciences Division Chair.
Over the years at Southminster Don has built an intentional intergenerational ministry for adults, youth, and children and strengthened our church’s connection to families, mission and each other. Don has led mission trips for youth and adults to Cuba (twice), Alaska (twice), New Mexico, San Francisco, Wapato, Washington (twice) and Spokane (seven times). For Don, “God exists in the community and is revealed as we work toward social justice in all ways and all things.”
With vision and enthusiasm, Don is excited to return to the role as Associate Pastor for Family Life as soon as the new Senior Pastor is in place in early 2021.