Welcome to AnchorCast, a weekly podcast of homilies and sermons from Christ our Anchor Anglican Mission in Nashville, Tennessee.

All right, let us pray.

O God, our Heavenly Father, who didst manifest Thy love by the sending of Thy only begotten Son into the world, that all might live through Him, pour out Thy Spirit upon Thy church, that we may fulfill His command to preach the gospel to all people.

Send forth laborers into Thy harvests, defend them in all dangers and temptations, and hasten the time when the fullness of the nation shall be gathered in, and faithful Israel shall be saved.

Through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


So, good morning.

Father Kinney invited me here today to share my spiritual journey and my ministry among the poor here in Nashville.

And not because of any humbleness on my part, because I do absolutely enjoy talking about myself.

But for the sake of time, I’m going to focus the bulk of our time here this morning on my ministry.

So, I’m going to structure this morning’s talk kind of in three major sections.

The first topic is going to be a little bit about my background and what drove me to become a and why my vocation has played out among the poor here in Nashville.

The second will be how the mission came to be through my own early ministry and my struggles and trying to live out the Christian faith while working full time and being a husband and father.

And specifically, I’ll talk about a book that really impacted me.

This book right here, Practicing the King’s Economy, which we’ll get back to here in a bit.

And finally, of course, I will talk about the work that I’m doing in East Nashville at Christ Our Anchor.

Now, I will give, in a very Vanderbilt style, a little bit of a preface or maybe even a trigger warning.

So, this topic is very deeply personal and real for me.

Some of the people that I minister to in my parish woke up this morning outside.

Each and every Wednesday night, I preach, I pray, we confess our sins, I give them absolution, and finally, I give them my blessing before they leave.

And each week, I know that I am blessing them to walk out upon the streets of Nashville with nothing over their head and no support system other than what we can offer.

So, this weighs very heavily on me and I take it incredibly serious.

The poor are real to me and they have names and faces.

I’ve prayed with them and I’ve served them at the holy table.

So, at times, I might sound harsh, I might sound frustrated, I might sound grumpy, but it is only because of my deep, deep love for the people of my little flock.

And it is my call as their priest to be a voice for them in places where they are not and to try to call the church to see our brothers and sisters in Christ and to serve them as they should.

So, for the first bullet, I believe I’ve preached a little about my background here before a few years ago, but long story short, very short, I was raised Mormon, became agnostic, moved back to the U.S.

after being in Europe for a bit, moved next door to a church, had a crisis of faith, and all of that ended with me walking into a Methodist church that was right next door to my apartment.

So, I showed up on a Sunday, I went to Bible study the following Wednesday, and by the end of the month, I was joining the choir and asking to be baptized.

It was a quick and wild conversion that was truly a merciful act of God.

And not too long after being baptized, I received a very clear call to ministry, but that’s not really where I want to focus today.

The thing I want to focus on here is that the church I came to faith in downtown in Nashville, McKendree United Methodist Church, you might see it on Church Street.

That’s why Church Street is called Church Street.

That church was very active in ministering to the homeless downtown.

So, from the very beginning of my Christian experience, having homeless people in worship was completely normal.

Seeing the church use its money to help people get their IDs back, to help them with blankets, organizing and working in a clothes closet, serving food, these were all just normal parts of life in the church.

We even had a shelter downstairs where several men were living.

This was a critical part of my experience of Christianity, and I just kind of assumed it was normal and that this is just what Christians did.

It was only after leaving that church that I realized, sadly, how abnormal it was.

But that early experience of having prayer, worship, and service to the poor, all part of one Christian life formed me.

Learning to step outside of my discomfort and boldness and go out into the streets and not to be disgusted or afraid became an integral part of the working out of my faith.

And this was heavily influential to me, to the point where when I was away from it, I no longer felt fully Christian.

So part of my call when God called me into ministry, he was making it very clear that he needed me to use the financial security and stability that I have as a computer programmer to serve the church in places that traditionally don’t have a budget to serve and support clergy.

And so that led me right back to where I started, which was serving the poor.

I started out by doing a good bit of service in a ministry inside the jail that was called Church of Another Chance, and I did several semesters inside of Tennessee’s high-security prison, Riverbend, where Death Row is.

And then I helped Father Justin a bit in East Nashville planting Epiphany, and we did a lot of work with the homeless there, which was funny because I actually knew some of them from jail, which is always great, I guess.

But all of these experiences came together so that when I was ordained a deacon, I started serving at Community Care Fellowship, which is a day shelter for the homeless in East Nashville, just down the street from my house.

It’s like, if you see the stadium, you’re on Shelby Drive, 8th and Shelby.

If you look behind that red house, there is actually a homeless day shelter there that no one really knows about, but is critical for our brothers and sisters on the street.

I loved being at Community Care Fellowship, which on the street is called Kin and Carol’s.

There was no chaplain there, and the people there were lonely and hungry for someone to listen to them.

They needed prayers.

They asked for relief from demons, addictions, and other pains.

And I had so many great and deep conversations about God’s love and care for them, and was able to lift people up and remind them that they were a beloved child of God, and that their sins and failings didn’t define them.

But while working there, I realized there was an issue.

Even though I could pray for them every day, and I could be present, I didn’t really have anything else to offer them.

I was realizing more and more that for so many of the people that were there, they were literal or metaphorical orphans.

Their families had either disowned them because of repeated poor life choices, or they literally had no family.

Which is why when they were on the margins and the event happened, you know, they had a car accident, a sickness, a bad breakup, whatever it might be, there was no support system.

So, they ended up on the streets.

And so, in all of this, the gears in my head started to turn.

What they were missing, I discovered, was the church.

The church is this beloved family, but I didn’t have a church to give them.

I wasn’t at Mackinder anymore.

I didn’t have a space where they would be welcomed and could just come in and be received as family.

And that deeply troubled me and made me a little mad.

So now, part two.

So, you know, I kind of set up, I have this background working with the poor, but now I’m in a new context in life.

I was married in seminary, and by the time I was graduated and ordained a deacon, I already had two children.

And I worked full-time in seminary, and between family work, school, ministry internships, I just didn’t have a lot of excess.

But now I’m graduated, and I suddenly have a lot of time.

And I know the poor are out there, but the ministry, I served it in seminary, shut down during COVID.

You know, I’m not Methodist anymore.

And I just don’t know how to go about finding the poor in my cush middle-class Christian life.

So I started questioning, how do I serve?

How does my wife and very young family serve?

Like I know what the Bible teaches, and I’m not saying no to that.

I just don’t have the opportunities to say yes.

And it was around this time that I ran across this book, Practicing the King’s Economy.

And when I looked it up, the authors were from neighborhoods very much like mine in East Nashville, in Chattanooga, and Memphis.

So I knew it was a very similar context, and I had to buy it.

And it’s really interesting because you read the title, but this book isn’t what you would normally think of as an economics book.

But in a way, it’s what an economics book should be.

It is a book that goes step-by-step through different areas of your life, from finances to family, to purchases, to food, to community.

It covers everything from top to bottom in the average American life, but it rethinks all of it in view of the kingdom of God.

It takes seriously that Christ died and rose again, that he sits enthroned in heaven and will return again.

Jesus is truly the king of all, and he is above everything in our lives.

And we are to sacrifice our entire selves and being to him and his service.

So this book takes all of that and says that if we truly believe that, what would our life look like?

Like we’re not just called to give him a portion of our life on Sunday, but what would it look like to give our entire life to him and his service?

Now, there are some really great pragmatic and approachable things in this book for the average Christian to do, but page by page, it will become apparent that it’s truly a book focused on the poor.

Because it turns out that when we dedicate our lives to Christ, and when we think of ways to change what we do in our life in little ways, it really comes down to opening our lives to others, to being the true family, to truly being the church.

Their whole direction and thinking in the book is making little sacrifices in our lives so that instead of mowing your own lawn, you have a brother who needs some extra money mow it for you.

Instead of hiring a secular professional roofing company, if there’s someone at your church who knows how to do it, you hire your brother to do it, even if you might be paying a little more.

And these little sacrifices, small changes, will make a difference.

You buy your eggs from a Christian farmer.

If you own a small business, you open it up to taking risk by hiring a single mother with a troubled past.

The king’s economy then is not about being efficient, not entirely thinking about economics, but thinking as a Christian in the ways we can open up our lives to the service of his kingdom and the people who he deeply and truly loves.

And in the book, especially in the first half of the book, there’s this idea of envisioning Christ’s kingdom as this family that’s having a potluck.

And there’s this line that keeps recurring through and through it that became really important to me.

They say, everyone has something to bring to the potluck.

And what they mean is that no one is actually so impoverished that they don’t have something to offer.

Everyone from the poorest to the richest has something to bring.

That might be bringing napkins because they don’t have any food.

It might be that they’re helping set up chairs, but whatever it is, everyone has value and everyone has something to contribute.

In the end, everyone is made in the image of God and everyone is deserving of the dignity of being able to serve in the family and not just be a receiver of blind charity, but actually be an equal member of Christ’s kingdom.

So for me, it was this book and the Stirrings at Community Care Fellowship that really started these early ideas of what Christ Our Anchor would look like.

I was thinking, what would it look like for a church in downtown Nashville to actually be the kingdom in this way?

What would it look like to have a place that wasn’t just about worship and pulling people in on Sunday like a traditional church plant, but also wasn’t just about serving hot dogs and handing out blankets like a traditional shelter?

The place I felt that was missing was a place where someone who was ready to make a change in their life, to try to get back to working, to try to repair relationship with God, to try to get back into relationship with other people and rebuild a family structure, that the church was there and not in a short-term kind of way because the kingdom is eternal.

It doesn’t make sense to me that a Christian would do anything short-term.

Nothing we do should be short-term because this is an eternal project.

The church exists in eternity because our Lord is eternal and we will be risen with Him into eternity.

So, this can’t be something that you outgrow.

This can’t be, you know, oh, great, you got a job.

Now, goodbye, go to a normal church.

Like, this has to be a forever church.

It’s the church when you’re in need and it’s the church when you don’t think you’re in need.

But the reality is all of us are in need.

There’s none of us that don’t come with a need.

Some of us just have money, but that doesn’t mean we’re not in need, right?

The poor always have something to bring.

So, that’s where Christ Our Anchor really started.

I started kind of mulling these ideas.

I discussed it a good bit with Bishop Menz.

I discussed it some more with Father Michael down in St.


I bounced some ideas off my Bible study group, and it really started to come together, this vision, this vision of the church just being the church.

Now, the one thing that I’ve learned in serving at Christ Our Anchor for this last year is that while I know what it is and while I can feel it deep within my bones and just have a complete and total sense of what Christ Our Anchor is, I am really bad at communicating it with others.

So, my hope today is that the background I’ve just given you about my spiritual journey, my background working with the poor and practicing the King’s economy gives you the information you need to begin to build a picture of what I’m thinking of when I think of what the church could be and could do in Nashville.

Now, I think the first thing people think of when they hear Christ Our Anchor is a type of jobs ministry, and that’s not untrue.

If you talk to people on the street, they know you can go to the Catholics under the bridge to get a tent, you can go to the Baptist for a hot spaghetti dinner, and you can go to Christ Our Anchor to work for a few hours and make 60 bucks.

The people know this, and it’s true.

We do collect jobs and little tasks and small things around the house from other Christians and small businesses and churches, and we save that labor for the poor.

We save it so that they can work with dignity and earn a true wage.

And that’s definitely what’s on the tin, and that’s definitely what’s pushed out on the streets and in our brochures.

But I hope now that you see the mission and heart behind it.

It really isn’t about the work, and it really isn’t about the money.

It’s making a way for the poor to reclaim their dignity and value as a person made in the image of God.

It’s a path for those who have, mature Christians, to actually come into contact with the poor so that they can fully live into the Christian life God has called them to.

Christ Our Anchor, for me, is both the answer to the questions of, am I loved?

Where can I go to have a family again?

The questions on the heart of the poor in our streets.

But it is also the answer to the questions I had.

How do I find the poor in my cush middle-class life?

How do I put myself in a position to be able to say yes to God’s call on my life, to serve Him and His Kingdom first?

Christ Our Anchor is both of these things at the same time.

In the last year, every single person who has come through the doors to pray with us has been a baptized member of Christ’s Holy Church.

I’ll say that one more time.

Every person who has come through our doors has been a baptized Christian.

That makes me feel kind of a way that the people we are serving are not just the poor.

In their baptism, they are our poor.

They are His poor.

Sealed with Christ’s body in their baptism, they are sealed to us, and we are one body.

The people we are serving on our streets are very members of our own church, very members of the eternal Kingdom of God, and it is our duty to love them, to support them, and to be with them.

Truly, if they are not at His table, we are not celebrating His holy meal.

They are to be invited first.

They are to be at the table with us, and if they are not there, we are missing out on the greatest treasure that He has given us.

I can give you some examples.

We’ve been able to buy people Bibles.

I’ve seen a man who only had $30 to his name put money into the collection plate at mass.

I’ve seen someone who had only been in an apartment for four days go out with us to hand out sandwiches to the homeless.

We’ve seen people smile as they got their picture taken for a parish directory, knowing that for the first time in their life they were being invited into something, that they had a family, that they had a place where they were needed, loved, and wanted.

These are things that you’re not going to see anywhere else but among the poor, and as much as the people we have served think that we have helped them, we have received blessing upon blessing from their involvement in our lives.

They have encouraged me and they have allowed me to seize God and miraculous hand at work time and time again.

Now this is where things get a little uncomfortable, but like I said at the beginning, I’m not here for myself and I’m not here to say happy, pious lies.

I’m here to speak on behalf of my people, and I’ll be honest, we don’t have the help we thought we would get at the beginning of this.

God has been gracious.

He’s come through time and time again and we lack nothing, but it has often brought me to tears that people are coming to visit and they are not receiving the welcome that they deserve.

On many nights it’s just me, Father Dan from St.

Andrews, and my family.

Many Saturdays we don’t have enough volunteers to go out and work with people.

Many weeks I’ve had to push people off because I just didn’t have the volunteers to have someone to work with them or I didn’t have enough jobs, and I truly believe that the church, the universal church, can do better.

So I leave you with this.

Scripture is clear about God’s love and care for the poor, but he is also clear for his displeasure when we do not see them and when we do not help them.

So I ask you to search your heart, to read the Bible, practicing the King’s economy, and to kind of evaluate your life, to decide how to conform your life around Christ’s holy kingdom.

And when you do that, know that there are many places in Nashville, like Christ our anchor, that are ready and waiting for you to come and diligently show up so that you can be in a place to say yes when God asks for you to serve your brother.

In today, in the words of our Lord from the 25th chapter of St.

Matthew’s Gospel, starting in verse 31, Jesus says, When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.

And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was in hunger, and ye gave me meat.

I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink.

I was a stranger, and ye took me in.

Naked, and ye clothed me.

I was sick, and ye visited me.

I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee in hunger, and fed thee?

Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?

Or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.

Prepare for the devil and his angels.

For I was in hunger, and ye gave me no meat.

I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink.

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in.

Naked, and ye clothed me not.

And in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee in hunger, or thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

The name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.


Christ Our Anchor is an Anglican mission in East Nashville that meets on Wednesday evenings for prayer and fellowship.

Follow us at ChristOurAnchor.org to learn more about the work God has called us to in East Nashville.

And join us on Wednesday evenings at 530 as we live into what Jesus has called his church to be.

Everyone is welcome.